in the news 8-11 Jan. 2014

TIME20140111

20:34:55 local time map of china CHINA

* Nation’s salary growth strong: Report:

China will see the strongest salary growth among all Asian countries in 2014, even though the nation’s economic growth rate has been slowing down, a report from global human resources firm Hays has said.

According to the 2014 Hays Asia Salary Guide, which was released on Thursday and polled about 2,600 employers across the region, 67 percent of the surveyed Chinese employers said they will increase employees’ salaries above 6 percent, compared with 66 percent last year.

Only 29 percent of polled employers from other Asian countries and regions said there would be a salary increase above six percent in their organizations, with the rate remaining the same as in the previous year.
read more.
CHINADAILY

19:34:55 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

* Stop the violence against Cambodian garment workers:

Cambodian garment workers make around $80 a month, taking on long hours of overtime in harsh conditions.

Now workers across the country are standing up for themselves to demand more – but the fight for a better wage in Cambodia is a dangerous one. This video is to show the workers who are standing up – and the violence that’s consistently employed to keep them quiet.
Photos and video by Heather Stilwell. @HeatherStilwell
see Video.
HEATHER

* Groups Demand Mandatory Minimum Wage, Threaten Protest:

About 100 people, including 20 monks, held a ceremony in Phnom Penh on Friday in memory of the five people killed a week beforehand when military police opened fire on protesting garment workers, and demanded that the government introduce a mandatory, sector-wide standard minimum wage.

In Sen Sok district’s Toek Thla commune, representatives from seven advocacy groups and unions said they stood in solidarity with the garment workers, who are calling for an increase in the minimum wage to $160 per month, but said such a sum should be introduced in other sectors too.

The groups, which included the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community and the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, also called for the release of 23 strikers, activists and union representatives are detained in Kompong Cham province’s maximum security Correctional Center 3 (CC3) after their arrest last week.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Committees to ‘Research’ Minimum Wages, ‘Study’ Killings:

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday assigned former Finance Minister Keat Chhon as the head of a newly formed committee tasked with researching the government’s capacity to introduce wage increases for civil servants and factory workers.

In a statement released by the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit, Mr. Hun Sen said that he wants Mr. Chhon to “discuss with related institutions and parties over the possibility for raising salaries and reforming the salary system for civil servants.”

On January 3, military police shot dead five and wounded more than 40 protesting garment factory workers during clashes on Veng Sreng Street after a week of mass demonstrations to demand a monthly minimum wage of $160.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodian garment workers return to work; firms sue unions:

Tens of thousands of garment workers have returned to work in Cambodia since a strike for higher pay was put down with deadly force by the authorities last week but employers are now piling up lawsuits against trade unions over the two-week dispute.

The garment makers’ association said most workers had returned to work around the country by Friday although only about 60 percent had shown up at the Canadia Industrial Park in the capital, Phnom Penh, where military police opened fire on January 3, killing three strikers according to the government.

The park is home to factories that make clothes for Western brands such as Adidas AG, H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB and Puma SE.
“The lawsuits will focus on incitement to strike, damage to property and assets, coercion and threatening workers who want to work,” Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), told Reuters.

Khieu Sambo, an attorney representing firms against the six unions involved in the strike, told Reuters that more than 150 factories had filed lawsuits and more were being prepared.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, one of those targeted, said the judiciary was politicised but he would still fight the charges in court.
“They sued us because they want to intimidate us so we won’t strike any more and we won’t help the workers,” he said. “We are not afraid.”
read more.
reuters

* World Retailers Want Negotiations in Cambodia Labor Dispute:

Major international clothing companies say they are concerned for the safety of Cambodia’s garment workers and want to see peaceful negotiations between unions, factories and the government.

The workers have been on strike for weeks, calling for the monthly minimum wage to be doubled to $160. The industry employs up to 400,000 people.
Five people were killed, 40 injured and 23 arrested in crackdowns on striking workers and other demonstrators last week. Many laborers have since returned to work but unions are still calling for a raise.

In an unusual move, major international clothing retailers, including H&M, Adidas, Gap, Columbia, Puma and Levi Strauss, this week signed a joint letter decrying violence against workers.
“We strongly oppose any form of violence, and urge the Royal Government of Cambodia to drive negotiations among stakeholders to peacefully resolve this dispute,” Laura Wilkinson, a spokeswoman for Gap, told VOA Khmer in an e-mail.
read more.
voa

20140109 STOP ATTACK

18:34:55 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Tk 0.6m for family of worker killed in KEPZ labour unrest:

The authorities of Karnaphuli Shoes Industries Limited (KSIL) allocated about Tk 0.6 million as compensation for the family members of the worker killed in the labour unrest Thursday last.

The company also sanctioned about Tk 0.1 million each for the injured workers and expressed their heartiest sympathy to all the families of those killed and injured in the turmoil, a press release said Friday.
Managing Director of KSIL Sheikh Shahinur Rahman said that the people engaged in the turmoil were outsiders and no worker of their factory was involved in it.

“The workers are the main strength of our factory and we will do everything possible for their welfare,” he said.
A female worker named Parvin Akter of KSIL was killed and 12 others were injured during a demonstration in the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) in Anwara upazila of Chittagong district Thursday.
to read.
FE bd

* Clash at KEPZ raises a number of unpleasant questions:

The killing of a woman worker during a clash between workers and the police inside the Korean Export Processing Zone in Chittagong at midday Thursday provides a poignant pointer to the simmering discontent in the export-oriented apparel industry.

According to a report published in New Age on Friday, the trouble began over an alleged spat between workers and officials of Karnaphuli Sports Wear Factory centring ‘inadequate transport allowance’ in the new pay scale. Workers claim that they approached the management for redress to their complaints over the matter but the officials not only were rude to them but also called in the police at one stage.
The deputy commissioner of the Chittagong Metropolitan Police was, however, quoted in the report as suggesting that the law enforcers had tried to bring the situation ‘peacefully’ but ‘in vain’.
He also claimed that the workers had set fire to empty boxes near the factory and attacked the police, prompting the latter to resort to lobbying teargas shells and firing rubber bullets. Beside the death of the woman worker, 16 people, including three policemen, were injured in the clash.

The incident gives rise to a number of unpleasant questions.
First and foremost, it points to an increasing tendency of the law enforcers to employ brute force when it comes to quelling labour unrest.
It is not the first time that an apparel worker was killed amidst police action, in Chittagong or anywhere else in the country.
read more.
BD new age

* Victims to get compensation, 6,000 workers sued:

The EPZ authorities announced closure of the factory for indefinite period

The authorities of Korean Export Processing Zone will give compensation to family members of the workers of Karnaphuli Sportswear Industries who, was killed and were injured during Thursday’s clash.

The EPZ authorities announced closure of the factory for indefinite period.

The police filed a case with Karnaphuli police station accusing about 5,000-6,000 unknown workers in connection with the clash.

Saifee Anwarul Azim, public relation officer of Korean EPZ, told the Dhaka Tribune that the EPZ authorities would provide Tk six lakh to family members of each deceased worker while the injured officials, employees and workers would get Tk one lakh.

Mohammed Mohiuddin, officer-in-charge of Karnaphuli police station, said Sub-Inspector Md Saifuzzaman had lodged a case with the police station accusing about 5000-6000 unidentified workers in connection with the incident.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Apparel workers getting fired:

Several apparel factories at Gazipur and Ashulia sacked hundreds of workers in last two months alleging they were involved in recent labour unrest and also for cost cutting.

But labour leaders said that the workers were getting sacked since the recent wage hike and also for engaging in lawful trade union activities.
Labour leaders said that there is none to protect the rights of workers who organize for better working conditions.
They said that workers who protested against assault of two colleagues by a general manager were sacked in ‘reprisal.’
Many workers were unlawfully threatened, disciplined and terminated in retaliation of lawful trade union activities, they said.
read more.
BD new age

* Gazipur dyeing factory catches fire:

A fire broke out at a textile dyeing factory at Konabari in Gazipur on Saturday morning causing substantial damage, UNB reported.

Fire service sources said the fire originated from the machinery on the ground floor of Swadhin Dyeing Factory at about 9:30 am and soon engulfed the entire factory.
Being informed, two fire fighting units from Gazipur rushed in and doused the flame after half an hour of frantic efforts.
Several machines and accessories were gutted by the blaze.
to read. & to read. & to read. & read more. & to read.
BD new age UNB  INDEPENDENT BANGLA NEWS24 FE bd

* Fire breaks out at a Gazipur factory:

While no casualties were reported, the cause of the fire has yet to be ascertained

A fire broke out at a ready-made garment factory located in Gazipur Sadar upazila on Saturday morning.

The flames broke out at the dyeing warehouse of Swadhin Dyeing, Knitting and Composite Limited in the Konabari BSCIC area around 9am, officials said.
Gazipur Fire Service and Civil Defense Deputy Assistant Director Akhtaruzzaman Liton said the flames soon spread to the rest of the factory.
Six fire fighting units from Gazipur, Kaliakoir and Tongi brought the flames under control after nearly one hour of efforts around 10:30am, he said.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* RMG workers block Dhaka-Aricha highway in Manikganj:

The apparel workers blocked Dhaka-Aricha highway for two hours demanding implementation of their new wage structure in Saturia upazila of Manikganj this morning.

Vehicular movement on the highway came to a halt since 9:15am when workers of Tarasima Apparels took position on the road in Nayadingi area of the upazila, reports our Manikganj correspondent.

The commuters suffered a lot as they had to strand on a three kilometres of traffic congestion, said Mashiur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Saturia Police Station.

The new wage structure for the readymade garment workers which was passed on November 4 was expected to be implemented by the authorities of all apparel factories from December 1 last year.
read more. & to read.
daily star bd  INDEPENDENT

* Undercover Look Inside A Bangladesh Garment Factory:

Below is a video of a clothing factory in Bangladesh, where the workers are unethically young. These particular children are paid approximately (at most) 40 dollars a month to work everyday, rotating on 12-hour shifts.

Corporations, especially many North American-based ones, often travel to poverty stricken areas in different countries all across the world for cheap labor so they can maximize their profits. This is ridiculous, these corporations could easily afford to provide jobs for adults at a good rate of pay in comfortable conditions. Sometimes I wonder if it’s really to maximize profit or to purposely exploit children and have them struggle every day, that these corporations get a rise out of that.

Clothing corporations that exploit children make billions upon billions of dollars every year. It’s not just clothes, but everything. Not long ago it was revealed that inside Apple’s Chinese factory, workers were paid 1 dollar an hour to produce iPhones and iPads for the West. They even have suicide nets outside their factories because people were commonly jumping out of the windows.
read & see more.
ACTIVISTPOST

* HK based co to launch new business after Bangladesh RMG disasters:

Li & Fung Ltd, the buying agent for retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., said it is setting up a new unit to provide buyers and factories with consulting services, financing and insurance to bolster compliance with safety codes, according to a WSJ report.

The industry has come under pressure to improve safety at the factories it relies on to cheaply produce apparel in the wake of the fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in the country, which killed more than 100 workers in 2012, and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building last year, which killed more than 1,100 people.

Li & Fung’s main business leaves it at the center of the controversy. The Hong Kong-based middleman helps Western brands find vendors, negotiate contracts and handle the complex logistics involved with delivering T-shirts and sweaters from factories in places like Bangladesh and China to store shelves in the U.S. and Europe.
read more.
FE bd

* 35% cut in RMG insurance premiums on the cards:

The country’s clothing industry that fetches four-fifths of the total export earnings is likely to get reduced the insurance premium rates up to 35 per cent on the existing tariff charts in the wake of the unending political confrontation.

The ministry of finance (MoF) on January 02 asked the insurance regulator to take immediate steps in this connection. A copy of the MoF order was made available to the FE.
But top executives at the insurance firms said reduction of the existing tariff rates would affect the country’s 46 non-life companies adversely.
The government is actively considering a cut in the tariffs as demanded by the leaders of two leading clothing groups and textile makers in a meeting with the MoF in December last.
read more.
FE bd

* Tanners now want to build township at Hazaribagh:

Tannery owners now want to build a modern township on around 50 acres of land in the city’s Hazaribagh area after relocation of their factories to Savar.

“We have discussed the issue in our forum and decided to construct a planned housing project in the area under a joint venture or a single initiative,” President of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods & Footwear Exporters Association (BFLLFEA) Mohammad Abu Taher told the FE Friday.

He said, “The modern buildings including school, college, community centres, playgrounds and other residential facilities will be there.”

“We will welcome any high-quality realtor who will come up with a modern plan on its own or on joint venture basis,” he said.

The process of relocating tannery factories from the city’s Hazaribagh area to Savar’s Hemayetpur was to be completed by December this year but the tanners have not yet started relocation.
read more.
FE bd

                        THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Bones and skulls still being found in Rana Plaza debris:

Calls raised for renewed search, police claim remains are ‘cow bones’

Some form of closure has finally arrived for the family of Obaidul Haque, who had been missing since the deadly Rana Plaza disaster, after the garment worker’s skeletal remains were recently recovered from under the debris of the building.

Obaidul, who worked at the New Wave Bottoms factory and hailed from Mymensingh, was the first among the missing workers whose full skeleton had been found since the rescue operation was called off.

Although eight and a half months had passed since the tragedy occurred, human bones and skulls are still being found at the Rana Plaza site, as relatives of many missing people continue their wait to be able to bury their loved ones.

The long wait for Obaidul’s family ended when his skeleton was found along with an identity card and a mobile phone, during a series of search drives.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

TIME20140110

20:34:55 local time map of mongolia MONGOLIA

* MPP demands a 30% minimum wage increase:

The Mongolian People’s Party faction delivered a demand to Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag on Wednesday to raise the minimum wage by 30 percent. The demand states,

“The MPP faction is not satisfied with the operations and policy of the current ruling authorities upon a meeting with representatives of NGOs, civil society, entrepreneurs and well as residents of 21 provinces.
Authorities are defrauding citizens, saying that everything is going to be fine and they just need some time, and are blaming the previous government for all the faults, looking for ways ‘to get water from stone’. A year and a half has passed since the launch of the new government and citizens are losing faith in it.”
read more.
ubp

19:34:55 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Labour market to see minor wage growth in 2014:

The Vietnamese labour market this year will see just a 6-8 per cent salary increase due to the sluggish economy.

The forecast was made by Nicola Connolly, chairwoman of Eurocham’s Human Resources and Training Sector Committee.
At a press briefing in HCM City yesterday, she said that minimum wage insurance in Q3 of this year is expected to reach VND3.2 million ($152.3).

The outlook for the Vietnamese labour market is contingent on various global trends – high unemployment rates, production shifts, the increasing skills gap and shortage, freelancing become an ever more normal way of life and the internet which is creating a larger marketplace for jobs.
read more.
VNNews new

* Textiles, garment exports rise to $19.8b:

Exports of textiles and garments were worth $19.8 billion last year, a rise of 16.9 per cent and accounting for 15 per cent of the country’s total export.

Export of textile and garment feedstock topped $900 million.
Viet Nam’s major export markets are the US, Europe, Japan, and South Korea.
read more. & read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 10/1. (8th item)
VNNews new  VNNet

19:34:55 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160                 20140101 $160

* Families of Killed and Missing Protesters Compile Complaint:

Family members of striking garment factory workers killed, wounded and missing after military police violently suppressed last Friday’s Veng Sreng Street protests have begun preparing complaints to file with authorities and rights NGOs.

At least five people were shot dead, and more than 40 were in­jured, after military police armed with AK-47 assault rifles put down a protest of stone-throwing striking workers.

Chiev Panith, 20, the wife of Sam Ravy, who was shot dead by military police, said that she would file a complaint to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court seeking an investigation into her husband’s death, and to identify the killer.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Lawyers Prevented From Seeing Protest Detainees at CC3:

Lawyers and human rights workers were prevented from entering Kompong Cham province’s Correctional Center 3 (CC3) prison on Thursday when they attempted to meet with some of the 23 protesters, union leaders and garment workers detained last week after protests were lethally suppressed by government forces.

Security at the notorious and remote CC3 prison, which is located near the Vietnamese border, has also been ramped up in recent days, bolstered by the deployment of about 50 soldiers to the facility, lawyers and staff from rights group Adhoc said.

“We are not permitted to meet our clients,” said Muth Piseth, a lawyer hired to defend 10 of the detained strikers who were rounded up by military police at the Canadia Industrial Park in Pur Senchey district’s Veng Sreng Street.
The 10 have been charged with perpetrating intentional violence and causing damage.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* 100 Factories Suing Unions Behind Strike:

More than 100 factories have now filed lawsuits against the six trade unions behind recent strikes for higher garment worker wages, and a lawyer representing garment manufacturers said Thursday that more suits are likely to come.

The factories accuse the six non-government aligned unions of inciting the protests, which occasionally turned violent and inflicted some damage on their properties. The unions have all denied the accusation and in turn accuse security forces of using excessive force against protesters, killing at least five and injuring 42 demonstrators last week.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court chief clerk Prak Savouth said he has received a slew of complaints since Monday from Khieu Sambo, a lawyer for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), which represents most of the 500-plus shoe and garment factories in the country.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodia unions face court action over strike:

Union leader says judiciary politicised but pledges to fight charges filed by garment-factory owners after two-week row.

Thousands of garment workers have returned to work in Cambodia since a strike for higher pay was put down with deadly force by the authorities last week.

However, employers are now filing cases in courts against trade unions over the two-week dispute.
Khieu Sambo, an attorney representing the firms against the six unions involved in the strike, told Reuters news agency that more than 150 factories had filed cases and more were being prepared.
“The lawsuits will focus on incitement to strike, damage to property and assets, coercion and threatening workers who want to work,” Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), said on Friday.

Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union, one of those targeted, said the judiciary was politicised but he would still fight the charges in court.
“They sued us because they want to intimidate us so we won’t strike any more and we won’t help the workers. We are not afraid.”
read more.
aljazeera

* One week later: Coming to terms with Cambodia’s brutal protest crackdown:

A week ago today Cambodian police shot and killed five protesting garment factory employees. In Phnom Penh, workers, activists and labor groups are still struggling to make sense of the violence

Grassroots protestors, folk songs and labor rights activists converged at Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh last week as garment workers campaigned to raise their minimum wage from $80 a month to $160.

After the Ministry of Labor approved a wage increase to $95 a month, trade unions and workers took to the streets, demanding $160. According to rights activists, the approved $95 wage is simply not enough to live on. So the campaign continued, galvanized by the support of Cambodia’s opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which had joined the protest in support.

Yet the peaceful protest ended in riots as the military closed in, shot and killed five garment factory workers and injured over 30 others on January 3. A ban on gatherings of groups larger than 10 has been put in place. Twenty-three protesters and labor leaders were missing for a week after their arrest.
read more.
asiancorres

* Despite bail, 15-year-old still in jail:

A juvenile accused of destroying a police car during a violent strike by SL Garment factory workers in November remained in Prey Sar prison yesterday, despite the Court of Appeal having granted him bail.

Sary Bothchakrya, a lawyer from the Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) representing the suspect, said the 15-year-old had been granted bail because he has a history of mental illness, but that he would probably not be released until next week.

“Now he is in the jail while we are completing the bail documents for the court to process,” she said. “He will be released from the jail next week, I think.”

Chim Sambo, 27, a relative of the detained youth, told the Post yesterday that the suspect was not involved in violence between police and factory workers. Police arrested the boy, he continued, while he was collecting scrap metal to sell after the men who burned the police car had already left the scene.
read more.
PPP new

* Over $1,500 Raised for Paralyzed Protester:

A fundraising effort set up to help the family of Hoeurn Chann, a man left paralyzed after being shot in the spine by a police officer during the SL Garment Factory protest in November, closed Thursday, having raised more than $1,500.

The “Solidarity with Hoeurn Chann” campaign was created by New Zealand expatriate Francesca Eldridge in December to help pay back more than $4,000 in loans the family had accumulated in paying for Mr. Chann’s treatment.
The fundraiser closed at 7 a.m. on the YouCaring website Thursday, having raised $1,515 of its $3,000 goal.

Huon Khon, the victim’s 51-year-old mother, said she was incredibly grateful for the money, which would help offset the 13 million riel (about $3,250) she said the family still owed private lenders.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Svay Rieng garment workers fired, suspended:

Due to incorrect information provided to the Post, a previous version of this story reported that Kingmaker (Cambodia) Footwear Co Ltd. fired 200 workers on December 27 for striking. A factory representative said 200 people participated in demonstrations, but were not fired.

Factories in Svay Rieng province’s Manhattan Special Economic Zone have fired or suspended at least 50 workers – and are pursuing legal action against some – for participating in a strike last month that saw some 30,000 walk off the job.

Heads of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) and Cambodian Alliance Trade Union (CATU) told the Post yesterday that 50 members of their unions were dismissed last week.
read more.
PPP new

* To understand Cambodia’s labor crackdown, open your closet:

A police crackdown on striking garment workers in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, last week left at least four people dead and several others wounded. But they are not the first casualties in the Southeast Asian country’s race to the bottom to prop up the garment industry. Unless things change for the better, they won’t be the last.

Worker unrest has been evident in Cambodia for several years. However, the latest flare-up of violence is not simply a tale about a faraway place where garments make up 80 percent of exports. It is deeply connected to the West. In choosing not to intervene, American and European multinational companies — particularly the top global apparel brands that source their clothes from the country — are enabling both the repression and the mistreatment of garment workers in Cambodia. In fact, these companies are also directly responsible and are well positioned to stop the violence and improve labor conditions.

But they have done very little so far. Seven global clothing companies, including the Swedish retail-clothing company H&M and the San Francisco-based clothier Gap, have publicly condemned the violence and called for a negotiated settlement to the crisis. But they should use their clout with Cambodian authorities to push for higher labor standards and demand an immediate end to the repression.
read more.
ALJAZEERA US

* Garment sector economics:

In this week’s interview, the Post’s Hor Kimsay sits down with Hiroshi Suzuki, chief economist at the Business Research Institute for Cambodia (BRIC). Suzuki discusses the debate about minimum wages in the garment sector, strikes and whether increases will hurt Cambodia’s competitiveness.

How much of an effect will the combination of garment strikes, violence and political tensions have on economic growth?
From my point of view regarding macroeconomic growth, the effect is not so big. The economy is driven forward by several kinds of engines, including the garment sector, tourism, agriculture, construction and real estate. The tourism industry is enjoying an increase in visitors. The agriculture and construction sectors are also performance well. Having a look at all these things, we can see that growth in these sectors will support the fundamentals of Cambodia’s economy.

What about the garment sector?
Of course, some of it is affected, because many factories were closed and they could not produce to meet deadlines. Some were damaged. It also could affect the volume of orders from the buyers. But, Cambodia is not alone. Bangladesh, a garment industry country, is facing a big fight because of its recent election. It is fortunate that the economy of the US and EU are recovering.
read more.
PPP new

* Japan Asked Government to Protect Its Interests During Strike:

Japan has expressed its deep concern about the situation in Cambodia following the deadly crackdown on striking garment workers last Friday, and admitted Thursday that it had contacted the government during the protests to ask for protection of Japanese citizens and companies.

Military police armed with AK-47 assault rifles shot five people dead and wounded 42 more after opening fire on protesters outside the Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district, bringing to a bloody conclusion a week of mostly peaceful demonstrations by garment factory workers calling for an increase to their minimum wage.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* As a community reels in the wake of violence, different voices reflect:

Veng Sreng Boulevard, in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district, is home to garment workers who sew for brands like Gap and H&M in the 61 factories within the Canadia Industrial Park complex.

Late last week, strikes by employees asking for a minimum wage of $160 per month erupted in violence. At least four protesters were killed and many more injured as security forces fired live rounds into the crowd. Others were arrested – 23 remain in prison but have not been charged. Dozens of businesses were damaged in the chaotic aftermath.
Nearby, hospitals were crowded with the injured and their families. Here, seven individuals caught up in the events tell their stories of the violence, the repercussions and the fear-filled days that followed. Poppy McPherson and Will Jackson report.
read more.
PPP new

* Volunteer medic team swallows fear to help save lives at clashes:

As heavily armed military police advanced down Veng Sreng Boulevard at the Canadia Industrial Park early in the afternoon on Friday, January 3, Norm Sinath cautiously raised his hands.

Although the green cross on his vest clearly indicated that he was a medic, Sinath was taking no chances. Moments before, the same policemen had fired a volley of automatic rifle shots above the heads of demonstrators who had failed to clear the site.

“Don’t run away,” Sinath advised those around him as the police marched forward about 10 metres away. “If we run, they’ll think we’re protesters.”
Around four hours earlier, at least four demonstrators had been killed and dozens injured when supporters of the garment strike clashed with authorities in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district.
read more.
PPP new

* Groups condemn Cambodia worker crackdown:

Several civil society groups handed over a memorandum to the Cambodian embassy today, protesting the neighbouring country’s recent violent crackdown on workers striking for higher wages.

Representatives from Dignity International, Asia Floor Wage Alliance, Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Committee for Asian Women, Jerit, MTUC, Suaram and Junior Officers Union Tenaga Nasional Berhad submitted the letter to Chhay Kosal, third secretary (Consular and Administration) at the embassy.

“We the undersigned strongly condemn the use of extreme force, violence and arrest to quell garment workers’ strike in Cambodia on Jan 2 and 3, 2014.

“The garment workers’ strike is a legitimate expression of the desperation of garment workers who are crushed under poverty level wages,” the memorandum, endorsed by 17 local and international NGOs as well as Klang MP Charles Santiago and Senator Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud, reads.
read more.
FREEMALAYSIATODAY

* Cambodia: Stop government violence against workers:

This campaign is in solidarity with Cambodian garment workers and unions, who initiated a general strike seeking an increase in minimum wage from US$80 per month to US$160.

The strike was very effective, with many thousands of workers participating, and the employers association (GMAC) called a lockout and urged the government to crack down on the workers.
On January 3, 2014, the government sent military police to attack a demonstration at one of the struck factories, and they opened fire on the demonstration with AK-47 rifles and killed five workers and seriously injured dozens more.
The government has since banned all demonstrations and used military force to clear the streets. At least 39 workers have been detained and are held in unknown locations.
Faced with this brutal repression, the unions have called off the strike and workers are returning to work, although they are continuing to press their demands.
read more and please sign here.
     

20140109 STOP ATTACK

18:34:55 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Worker killed in police firing:

Unrest at CTG EPZ Factory

A female shoe factory worker was killed and 12 others were injured in police firing as they clashed with law enforcers in the Korean Export Processing Zone in the district’s Anwara upazila yesterday.

Police were locked in the clash with the workers when they were demonstrating, demanding reinstatement of their previous allowances reduced by the factory authorities.
The dead worker, Parvin Akter, 20, is a worker of Karnaphuli Shoe Industries Ltd, a company of the Korea-based Youngone Group.

Workers of the shoe factory said its authorities paid their salaries as per the new pay scale, but reduced the other allowances that they used to get in the past.
The factory gave the monthly wages to their workers yesterday.

Jahedul Islam, a production helper of the factory, said they each used to get Tk 400 a month as travel allowance, which has now been reduced to Tk 200. Besides, the factory authorities charged each around Tk 50 as monthly charge for lunch, which has now been increased to Tk 650.
Demanding restoration of their previous allowances, the workers came out of the factory, and held a rally in front of its premises at around 1:00pm. At one stage, the factory authorities called in the police.
Without any provocation, police fired several gunshots, rubber bullets and teargas canisters at them, leaving Parvin and 12 other workers wounded, alleged the workers.
read more.
daily star bd

* Worker killed, 20 hurt in Korean EPZ clashes:

A female worker was killed and 20 others injured in clashes between the police and workers inside the Korean EPZ at West Patiya of the district today.

Sources said the KEPZ Sportswear Ltd (KSL) management was paying workers’ wages for the month of December as per new scale at around 1.00 pm Thursday when some workers alleged that they were not being paid transport allowance as per rules.

Their leaders expressed resentment to KSL Accounts officials. At one stage of the altercation the management, apprehending trouble, called the police from the nearby Karnaphuli police station.

The workers, finding policemen around them, became furious and resorted to widespread vandalism. The policemen retaliated firing tear gas shells and rubber bullets. During the clashes the workers also set fire to raw materials inside the EPZ area.

Parveen Aktar (18), a worker of KSL who received grievous injuries during the clash, was declared dead when she was rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) at around 3.00 pm.

Thirteen workers and three policemen have been admitted to CMCH. The injured policemen are Ratan Dewan, Chand Moni and Abdul Matin, duty officer of Karnaphuli police station said.
read more. & read more.
FE bd BD new age

* Female worker killed, 20 injured in factory clash:

Workers got into an altercation with factory officials around 1pm while receiving payment under the new pay scale

A female worker was killed and 20 others, including five police officers, were injured in a clash between law enforcers and the workers at the Korean Export Processing Zone in Chittagong yesterday afternoon.

The agitated workers of Karnaphuli Sportswear Industries (KSI), part of Youngone Group which owns the Korean EPZ, also set a factory warehouse on fire and vandalised machines, demanding proper implementation of the newly announced wage board for workers.
Inspector Arifur Rahman Arif of the Industrial Police in Chittagong told the Dhaka Tribune that the workers got into an altercation with factory officials around 1pm while receiving payment under the new pay scale, they claimed were getting less than their due payments.

Later, the agitated workers confined the officials and staged demos inside the factory, he said. They went on a rampage when the factory authorities called police to control the situation.
The workers hurled brick chips at the police leaving five policemen injured, said Mostak Ahmed, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Chittagong Metropolitan Police Port Zone.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* More violence in Export Processing Zones over Minimum Wage 2013, Bangladesh:

One dead and 15 others including 3 Policemen have been injured in clashes over the implementation of the “Export Processing Zone” Minimum Wage 2013, according to which the payments are supposed to take place in 2014.

The dead worker, Parvin Akter, 20, was a worker in a company of Korea-based Youngone Group. Workers alleged she was shot in the head as police without any provocation opened fire during their rally in front of the factory around 1:00am Thursday.

Police, however, said they fired gunshots when the workers hurled brickbats at them. Earlier in the morning, the workers received monthly wages as per the new pay scale. But their monthly travel allowance of Tk 400 was reduced to Tk 200, said  Jahedul Islam, a production helper of the factory. Besides, their Tk 50 monthly charge for lunch was also increased to Tk 650. Agitated, they came out of the factory and held the rally. At one stage, the authorities called in the police.
read more.

* Labour ministry has no database on workers :

Government to conduct census on country’s labour situation

The government plans to conduct a census to identify and prepare a database on the status of factories and workers, especially those affected by political turmoil, labour ministry sources said.

A senior official said the labour ministry was unable to take major policy decisions due to lack of information and data on the country’s labour situation.

“We are facing a lot of difficulties in making major policy decisions related to regaining GSP (generalised system of preferences) facilities for Bangladeshi products in the US market,” the official said, citing an example.
The US suspended GSP facilities for Bangladesh in June last year.

The ministry sources also said formal sectors like readymade garments (RMG) and jute were hit hard by extra and internal shocks brought on by prolonged political unrest. But the informal sector was the worst hit, they added.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* NBR asked to cut RMG export tax at 0.3%:

The government has bowed to the pressure of readymade garment manufacturers by agreeing to reduce significantly tax on apparel exports.

The national board of revenue officials told New Age that the ministry of finance directed them to lower the tax at 0.3 per cent from existing 0.8 per cent.
NBR, which is going to face a revenue shortfall of around Tk 13,000 crore in the current fiscal, has also asked to make the directive effective from January 1, 2014.
They said the new rate would cost the revenue board more than Tk 1,000 crore in revenue.
Finance minister AMA Muhith last month decided to lower the tax to 0.65 from 0.8 per cent following repeated demands by the RMG factory owners.
read more.
BD new age

* Three textile’s subsectors get cash incentive for TT:

Three textile’s subsectors will get cash incentives for telephonic transfer (TT) of their export proceeds, a Bangladesh Bank (BB) circular, issued Wednesday, said.

The subsectors are woven, knit and terry towels.
Currently, clothing made of local yearn is getting cash  incentive only for processing export proceeds through traditional  documentary collection system.
“From now on, woven, knit and terry towels exporters will  get the similar cash assistance even if they process their fund through TT,” the central bank said.
read more. & read more.
bss FE bd

* Exports soar to record high:

Exports advanced 23.22 percent in December from the previous month to take last year’s earnings to $29.1 billion, the highest in the nation’s history, in spite of the political turmoil at home and image crisis faced by the chief export grosser, the garment sector.

Propelled by garment products which raked in a record $23.5 billion, last year’s figure is also an improvement of about 16 percent over 2012’s takings of $25.1 billion, according to data from Export Promotion Bureau.
“We have proved our resilience against domestic odds. The export trend is extremely positive,” said Shubhashish Bose, vice-chairman of EPB, while expressing his optimism over achieving fiscal 2013-14’s export targets.
He said the demand for the country’s garment products is “still very good”. “Our pricing is very competitive, so the international retailers are bound to come to us.”
read more. & read more. & read more.
daily star bd FE bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* 1,727 killed in workplace accidents in 2013:

At least 1,727 workers were killed, and 2,307 injured, in workplace accidents that took place during the year 2013, said a press release issued by the Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE).

Among the deceased, 1,401 workers were killed in accidents in the formal sector, while the remaining 326 killed were working in informal sector at the time.
The information was gathered in a survey of the OSHE that was accumulated from “monitoring fifteen leading national daily newspapers of the country and reports of [OSHE] field offices in different parts of the country,” said the press release.
However, workplace accidents shot up in garments, construction, agricultural and ship breaking industries, it added.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

     THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE

* Dead worker’s wife finally sees ray of hope:

Asha Akhter, who was abandoned by her in-laws when her husband died in the Rana Plaza collapse, finds her new-born baby as a ray of hope

Asha Akhter, 18, who was abandoned by her in-laws when her husband died in the Rana Plaza collapse back in April, 2013, has finally seen a ray of hope; her new-born baby, delivered December 2.

She named the boy Ananta which means infinite. Asha and her husband Abu Zafar Sentu thought of the name together before the deadly collapse that claimed Sentu’s life.

Asha doesn’t let anyone touch her child, said Asha’s mother Aleya: “Either she is overjoyed or she is still traumatised and thinks her son will leave her too, as soon as he is out of sight.”

“My husband and I were celebrating my pregnancy. Then the day of April 24 broke with the news of collapse and later 16 horrible days when I didn’t even know whether he was alive or not. This kid is the only memory of my husband now. How could I let him out of my sight?” Asha who got married in 2012 responded to her mother’s observations.

Aleya found 21-year-old Sentu’s totally decomposed body in the Adhar Chandra High School field 16 days after the collapse. The school grounds were used to keep the bodies recovered from the wreckage of the Rana Plaza.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

18:04:55 local time map of india INDIA

* Handloom weavers to go on hunger strike:

Expressing concern over the apparent disappearance of handloom weaving in the country and apathy towards the industry, the All-India Federation of Handloom Organizations will go on an indefinite hunger strike from January 30.

The federation had called for a National Handloom Satyagraha from January 1 but failed to get response.

Weavers from the state, along with activists, environmentalists, writers and artists, will take out a padayatra from January 15. “The rally will begin from Gajendragad in Gadag district, pass through weavers’ villages before joining ‘Banashankari Jatre’ at Badami (Bagalkot district). An indefinite hunger strike will begin from January 30,” the federation said on Thursday.

“The only demand of weavers is to save their family profession by stopping mechanization. At least 70% of handloom cloth in the market is adulterated by cloth made out of powerlooms,” the federation said.
to read.
TOInew

* No change in definition of ‘handloom’: Textile Ministry:

The Textile Ministry on Thursday said it had decided to retain the existing definition of ‘handloom’ after a panel constituted for the purpose recommended no change in the definition.

“It is clarified that no change is contemplated by the Ministry of Textiles in the definition of handloom, which has been defined as ‘any loom other than power loom’ under the Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985,’’ an official statement issued by the Ministry said here.
read more.
Return to frontpage

* AFT mill to resume production on Feb. 12:

The Anglo French Textiles (AFT) will resume production on February 12, mill chairman V. Bhalan told a press conference here on Thursday.

Puducherry government had agreed in principle to allot Rs. 15 crore to restart the mill, which remained closed since December 2011 except for a brief period. A file had been sent to the government seeking release of Rs. 5 crore immediately to launch the prestart operation, which would begin on January 23. Maintenance works in A, B and C units would be completed within 15 days.
read more.
Return to frontpage

18:04:55 local time map of sri_lanka SRI LANKA

* Sri Lanka’s textile & garment exports surge 35% in Nov’13:

The textiles and garment industry turned out to be the leading driver of growth in the industrial sector in November 2013 for Sri Lanka, according to a press release issued by the Economic Research Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Earnings from export of textiles and garments grew by 35 per cent year-on-year to US$ 491.4 million in November 2013, the Bank said in the press release.
“Export of garments to both the EU and USA, the major export destinations of garments, grew by 16.7 per cent and 58.7 per cent, respectively in November 2013, reflecting the recovery in those economies as well as seasonal demand,” the statement said.
read more.
fibre2fashion

17:34:55 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Proper supply of power, gas: ‘textile exports may be doubled in next five years’:

Muhammad Anees Khawaja, convenor of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), South Punjab chapter was optimistic textile exports may be doubled from $13 billion to $26 billion in the next five years if the government will keep continue uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas to meet the requirement of European Union and utilising the status of GST Plus.

This can be made possible by revival of the existing potential of textile industry estimated to be around $3 billion, he added.

Talking to media on Thursday, he said there is a potential of $8 billion by converting basic textile into clothing. He said Pakistan was exporting 21 percent cotton cloth and cotton yarn as semi raw material, and if converted to garments, the total value comes around $8 billion.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Cotton output likely to cross 13 million bales:

The country’s cotton output is likely to surpass 13 million bales mark against last year’s production of 12.9 million bales.

The final production report will be issued by Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) in mid March, however, the current production statistics depict that cotton output will be higher than last year’s. After several revisions, the Cotton Crop Assessment Committee (CCAC) had finally set a target of 12.36 million bales for 2013-2014.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Gaining ground: German textile event yields order bonanza:

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Sheikh Ilyas Mahmood said exporters are expecting to get foreign orders worth $1 billion from Heimtextil as the Pakistani commodity has been an attractive one on the opening day of the world’s largest home textile event in Germany.

While talking to members of the association on Thursday, Mahmood said that though Pakistani exhibitors were fewer this year than compared to the previous years, they got a positive response from international buyers.

“Heimtextil holds a great importance for Pakistani textile exporters,” said Mahmood. “Retailers around the globe visit this fair for new fashion trends and to place their orders for the upcoming spring season.”
read more.
tribune

TURKEY

* Turkey’s apparel exports to touch $18.4bn in 2014: TGSD:

Turkey exported apparel worth US$ 17 billion during 2013, and the country is expected to export garments worth US$ 18.4 billion during 2014, said Turkey Clothing Manufacturers Association (TGSD) president Cem Negrin, at the recent panel discussion held at TGSD in Istanbul.
According to a statement issued by TGSD, Mr. Negrin said in 2012 the country exported apparel products worth US$ 16.1 billion, which increased by nearly 8 percent to US$ 17.3 billion in 2013.
Spending on apparel in the domestic market also surged by 6 percent to 50 billion Turkish lira (approx. US$ 22 billion), whereas the organized retail market recorded a jump of 10 percent and touched 31.5 billion Turkish lira (approx. US$ 14 billion) in 2013, he said while speaking at the TGSD panel.
read more.
fibre2fashion

TIME20140109

20:34:55 local time map of china CHINA

* Gov’t campaign to ensure migrant workers’ wages:

The Chinese government on Monday launched a wages overhaul to ensure that millions of migrant workers from the country’s rural regions get properly paid before they return home for a major traditional Chinese holiday.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said in a statement that five working teams will be sent to eight provinces including Zhejiang and Hubei to inspect employers’ salary payments to migrant workers as well as local governments’ related supervisory work.

The statement said that the campaign will urge local authorities to take effective measures to ensure migrant workers get paid in full before the Spring Festival, which falls on Jan. 31.
According to the statement, 10 ministries are participating in this campaign.

Violations by employers such as wage deductions and delays are an old problem in China that has pressed the government to conduct such a yearly overhaul in recent years to protect workers’ rights.
read more.
PEOPLEDAILY

19:34:55 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Textile giant targets 12 percent growth in export:

20140109 VOV

The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) has targeted an export growth of 12 percent in 2014.

According to Le Tien Truong, Vinatex Deputy General Director, despite economic difficulties forecast for this year, the country’s garment sector will still see bright prospects.
In order to reach the goal, the group will apply measures to better investment, finance and human resource management policies, develop its markets and renovate business development, he said.

Last year, Vinatex’s export revenue hit nearly 3 billion USD, a 12 percent rise against 2012, while its domestic earnings reached 22.5 trillion VND (1.05 billion USD), up 15 percent. The average salary of its employees increased 10 percent over the previous year to more than 5.2 million VND (244.4 USD) per month.
read more. & read more.
VIETNAMplus VOVonline

* Vietnamese garment exports to US market show good growth:

Vietnamese garment exports to the US market in 2013 grew 14.2 percent to nearly touch US$8.6 billion though garment imports into this market merely rose 3.6 percent compared to the previous year, according to Le Tien Truong, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.

Currently, Vietnamese garments accounted for around 8-9 percent of market share in the US. This year, Vietnamese garment exports are expected to hit $10 billion and reach $20 billion before 2020. Garments contributed more than one third to $25 billion exports of Vietnam to the US market in 2013.

In other markets, Vietnamese garment exports also saw optimistic growth. Although EU only grew 0.5 percent, South Korea increased 9 percent, and Japan declined 0.5 percent, Vietnamese garment exports to these markets were still at high levels.
read more.
SAIGON-GPdaily

* Textile, garment exports surpass yearly target:

Vietnam’s export turnover from fibre, textiles and garments surpassed 20 billion USD in 2013, up 18 percent from 2012 and surpassing target by over one billion USD, according to Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.

Such an outcome put the commodities at the top of Vietnam’s key exports.
The sector also maintained considerable growth in major markets such as the US, EU, Japan, the Republic of Korea and ASEAN.

Last year, Vietnam’s exports of these goods to the US increased by 13 percent in the context that total textile and garment imports into the US only rose three percent.
This market alone generated more than eight billion USD for Vietnam’s textiles and garment sector, representing 45 percent of the sector’s export revenue in 2013.
read more in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/1. (12th item).
VNNet

19:34:55 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160

* Silence broken at last:

20140109 PPP Arrested-strikers_Military-Police
Men detained by military police lie on the ground with their hands bound at the scene of deadly clashes on Veng Sreng Boulevard on Friday. RFA

Notification that her son is being detained at Correctional Centre 3 in Kampong Cham came as a relief to Touch Sart yesterday, after spending nearly a week wondering whether he was even alive.

Since her son, Theng Saroeun, was arrested along with 22 others at demonstrations last Thursday and Friday, police, court and prison officials have refused to confirm the identities or whereabouts of those detained. After six days of silence, prison officials yesterday finally allowed family members, lawyers and a doctor to visit them.

“My son is badly hurt, he was beaten seriously and could not eat,” Sart said. “He received seven stitches.”

The fact that they have spent nearly a week of detention without access to their families or lawyers – a violation of defendants’ rights in Cambodia – and held in an isolated prison far from their Phnom Penh homes indicates the government’s strong desire to keep them cut off from supporters, Naly Pilorge, director of rights group Licadho, said.

The defendants – one of them a 17-year-old – were arrested on Thursday and Friday amid protests in Por Sen Chey district. Ten were arrested during a rally in front of Yakjin (Cambodia) Inc on Thursday, after, witnesses said, military officials guarding the factory initiated clashes with demonstrators.
read more.
PPP new

* Twenty-Three Arrested Protesters Held in Kompong Cham Prison:

After refusing for days to disclose the location of 23 protesters arrested last week and then charged in court, prison officials revealed Wednesday that the group is being held in a notorious jail in Kompong Cham province.

Ten people were arrested on Thursday and a further 13 were arrested on Friday during protests by striking workers that saw at least five people shot dead by military police.

Keo Sovanna, chief of Kom­pong Cham’s Correctional Center 3 (CC3), confirmed speculation earlier this week by rights groups Adhoc and Licadho that the 23 protesters—who have not yet been convicted of any crime—are being held at his maximum security jail.

“We’ve detained them in the same building [here], since we don’t have the rooms available to detain them separately,” he said.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Arrested protesters in good health: Police:

General Director in charge of Prison under the Ministry of Interior said that the 23 arrested protesters, including Mr. Vorn Pov, who is a prominent human rights activist, are in good health except slight wounds caused by the clashes.

Kuy Bunsen, General Director, added nonetheless, the prison officers have been taking care of their wounds.
The above comment was made after families of the detainees had claimed that Mr. Vorn Pov and other detainees were in serious conditions.
Mr. Bunsen said that families can meet with the detainees through direct contact with the prison chief for permission and it is not necessary to contact through his office.

He also said that the 23 detainees, including Mr. Vorn Pov are being held up at resurrection center III, called M3 prison in Trapiang Tlong, Kompong Cham province.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* As Strikers Return to Work, Factories Sue Garment Unions:

As garment workers continued to return to their factories Wednesday after several days of strikes that turned deadly last week, some of their employers have wasted no time in suing the unions behind the strikes, demanding compensation.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court chief clerk Prak Savouth said five factories had already lodged complaints against the unions, but would not say which factories filed the suits or which unions had been targeted for legal action.

“We received complaints from five factories,” he said, before referring further questions to Khieu Sambo, a lawyer for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).
Mr. Sambo confirmed that factory owners had lodged complaints, but declined to provide details.

On Tuesday, GMAC Secretary-General Ken Loo said lawsuits might target all six of the nongovernment-aligned unions it has already publicly accused of inciting violence among the striking garment workers. Those protests peaked when military police shot into crowds of stone-throwing protesters outside a Phnom Penh factory on Friday, killing five and wounding more than 40. GMAC chairman Van Sou Ieng said he was not familiar with the details of the lawsuits, but estimated that 50 or more factories were availing of his association’s lawyers to sue the six unions, and that more could join the suits.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Strikers fired in Svay Rieng:

20140109 PPP Manhattan-Zone_Garment-Workers_Svay-Rieng_strike_protest
Garment workers strike in front of Kingmaker’s factory in Svay Rieng province, demanding higher minimum wages in December. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Factories in Svay Rieng province’s Manhattan Special Economic Zone have fired or suspended more than 200 workers – and are pursuing legal action against some – for participating in a strike last month that saw some 30,000 walk off the job.

An accountant at Kingmaker (Cambodia) Footwear Co, Ltd – which supplies to California-based Skechers USA Inc – confirmed they fired 200 workers on December 27, while heads of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW) and Cambodian Alliance Trade Union (CATU) told the Post yesterday that 50 members of their unions were dismissed last week.

“The accusation is not right, because we did nothing wrong,” said Chorn Thieng, a factory worker in the economic zone who said he was suspended and is earning half his regular pay until a lawsuit his factory filed against him reaches court. “We just demanded [a $160 minimum monthly wage], and we still demand it.”

Workers at factories in the Manhattan and Tay Seng Special Economic Zone in Svay Rieng province started striking for a minimum wage hike – from the current government mandate of $75 plus a $5 health bonus – a week before a larger collection of unions called for an industry-wide strike on December 24.
read more.
PPP new

* For Workers, Wage Rise Is Shift From Surviving to Thriving:

Sous Sary, a 31-year-old garment worker, works two hours of overtime every day in order to earn enough to live even the most spartan of lifestyles on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

For three simple meals per day, she spends $2.50. On some days, she allows herself to indulge in a few small pieces of meat, spending $5. She pays another $20 in rent and $15 for water and electricity each month, all for a 2.5-by-2.5-meter wooden room in Pur Senchey district with no bathroom or running water. Ms. Sary and her husband, a part-time laborer, cannot afford a mattress or sheets for the wooden bed they share.

Ms. Sary, who sews trousers at the Bright Sky factory in Dangkao district, says her basic monthly expenses alone total $130, while the minimum monthly wage in the garment sector is just $80, meaning that working overtime, while technically optional, is in reality obligatory for her.

Along with hundreds of thousands of other garment workers, Ms. Saray went on strike this week seeking a raise in the minimum wage from $80 to $160 per month. Factory owners have insisted that workers’ demands cannot be met, calling the latter figure so high that it would put them out of business. The government has tried to compromise by offering $100.

But for Ms. Sary, the difference between the government’s offer and the workers’ demand is not just mathematical: It is the difference between barely surviving and being able to put some money aside to send her only child, an 8-year-old boy, to college. Her dream is for the boy to grow up and become a doctor, but she knows this goal is out of reach for the son of a garment worker, so she clings to the hope that he will one day be a nurse.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Fashion Backward: Cambodian Government Silences Garment Workers:

“Cambodian garment workers have two handcuffs and one weapon [against them]. One handcuff is a short-term contract [10 hours a day, six days a week]. Even if they get sick, if they get pregnant they feel they have to get an abortion so they don’t lose their jobs.

“The second handcuff is the low wage,” Tola Moeun, head of the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC), which advocates for workers rights, told IPS from the organisation’s headquarters on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. “The weapon used against them is violence, both mental and physical.”
About 90 percent of garment workers are young women, mostly in their teens and twenties.

His words, which came just days before mass protests broke out in the Cambodian capital, proved prophetic as garment workers took to the streets Dec. 24 until their demonstrations were brutally quashed by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s private military the first weekend in January, resulting in five fatalities and over 30 serious injuries.

In the days leading up to the protest, the Labour Ministry had approved an increase in the minimum wage for garment workers, from 80 to 95 dollars a month. But trade unions and workers protested, saying it was not enough to live on, and demanded a monthly minimum wage of 160 dollars.

Chrek Sophea, interim coordinator of the Workers’ Information Centre (WIC), which helps factory workers organise, told IPS workers cannot survive on the government’s proposed wage, and that it is in violation of Cambodia’s labour laws.
read more.
IPS

* Conflicting Figures on Number of Slain at Garment Protest:

The opposition CNRP has placed the number of striking garment factory workers shot dead by military police at Friday’s protest in Phnom Penh at six, party President Sam Rainsy said Wednesday.

The number is one higher than the five deaths reported by staff at three hospitals in Phnom Penh to journalists on Tuesday and two victims more than the figure collected by local rights group Licadho.
Mr. Rainsy released a list of six names on his Facebook page Wednesday, adding Kheng Kosol, 23, to a list of those killed by military police that the CNRP had compiled by Sunday.
The names of some of the deceased or their spellings as well as their ages also differed.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Clothes Made in Cambodia Are Tainted in Blood:

By Mu Sochua

I write in response to the unethical remarks made by the leadership of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) reported in your article published on Tuesday “Garment Strike Cost Industry $200 Million, GMAC Says.”

For days, local and foreign newspapers showed video clips and images on social media of the armed military police used to crack down on the striking workers. From blood-stained clothes to injured workers begging for mercy, the obvious and undeniable fact is the way the crackdown was conducted. With AK-47 assault rifles in hands, the aim was not just to disperse a crowd but it was clearly aiming to kill.

Five workers were killed and close to 30 others were wounded on January 3 during the heavy confrontation at the Canadia Industrial Zone. The leadership of GMAC called it “collateral damage” and described the use of lethal weapons by the military police as “absolutely” appropriate.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* GMAC Doesn’t Support Violence to End Industrial Disputes:

By Ken Loo

I refer to the article “GMAC Defends Use of Force Against Striking Workers” published on Monday, which did not fairly reflect the views and position of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC).

It starts out by claiming that GMAC “endorsed the use of deadly force by military police against striking workers.” This contradicts a later paragraph in which I was quoted as saying “GMAC condemns the use of violence, period. However, I think that the police had to respond to break up the rioters, and the rioters were not responding to verbal warnings.”

I feel that the quote was taken out of context and that it has misrepresented our position. When asked if I thought that the military police had responded appropriately by firing live rounds, I had replied that firstly, we should be clear to distinguish striking workers and this group of rioters. In this case, the rioters had engaged in violent activities including breaking down of factory gates and doors, intimidating and forcing workers who were working to leave work. They had also destroyed a clinic and were burning up roadside stalls. We also witnessed numerous attempts to try and break into garment factories.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Cambodia’s Garment Industry Dilemma:

Cambodia is in the very early days of industrialisation. Assembly work, such as stitching garments together are typical examples of the type of work at this stage, as surplus labour moves out of the countryside and into towns and cities looking for cash-based incomes.

The work is comparatively uncomplicated, appropriate to the skill levels of these new industrial workers but also involves long hours on low wages.

This is because wages are generally set internationally rather than locally, and from an international perspective, wages in Cambodia are comparatively high for this industry. In Bangladesh, the minimum wage has just been raised to $US68 a month from $38 a month, whereas it was already $US80 here in Cambodia, and is about to rise to $US100 – effectively putting contract garment manufacturers here who largely compete on price at a disadvantage.

The cynical ploy by the opposition NRP therefore, to encourage these workers to risk it all just so these politician’s can get their hands on the levers of power, is especially lamentable under circumstances where itinerant garment manufacturers could easily decide that Cambodia was becoming too difficult and relocate elsewhere.
read more.
PENHPAL

* UN rights body seeks probe into shootings:

The United Nations yesterday urged the government to launch an investigation into the recent deadly violence by security forces against striking garment workers, ahead of next week’s visit by the special rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, Surya Subedi.

“We are following the situation in Cambodia with serious concern and are deeply alarmed by the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officials in responding to demonstrations,” Robert Colville of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement.

“We urge the Cambodian authorities to launch a prompt and thorough investigation and to ensure full accountability of members of security forces found to have used disproportionate and excessive force,” he added.
read more. & read more.
PPP new Cambodia_Daily_logo

* SL protester, 15, released after months:

A juvenile suspect held on charges of violence and criminal damage for his part in the SL Garment workers strike last November has been released on bail.

The 15-year-old suspect was released under court supervision yesterday, after an appeal was launched against his pre-trial detention.
A lawyer for the prosecution, who wished to remain anonymous, said the youth suffered from mental illness.
“He has a mental problem, and he is a juvenile,” she said. “We wait to discuss with the attorney whether we should keep filing against him or not.”
read more.
PPP new

* Workers in Russey Keo return to work after weeks of strike:

Thousands of workers from 58 factories in Russey Keo district returned to work as usual today after recent weeks of strike to demand wage increase.

Almost 100 percent of the workers in the area go to work and the situation returned to normalcy.
Last month, workers started the strikes throughout the country to demand that wage be raised to USD160 per month, up from USD 80 per month.
The government then increased to USD 100 per month starting from February 2014. Six labor union leaders are still not satisfied with the increase.
to read.
CAMHERALD

* Gap to H&M Urge Talks to End Cambodian Workers’ Pay Clash:

Apparel makers including Gap Inc. (GPS), Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) and Inditex SA (ITX) called on Cambodia’s government, its garment industry and unions to hold talks after a strike over workers’ pay led to deadly clashes.

The government, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia and labor unions should engage in negotiations and support a new wage-review mechanism to avoid future violence, the retailers said in an open letter yesterday. Adidas AG (ADS), Puma SE (PUM), Levi Strauss & Co. and Columbia Sportswear Co. (COLM) also signed the letter.

At least three people were killed when police used live ammunition to crush a protest by striking garment workers in Phnom Penh, the Cambodia Daily reported Jan. 3, citing the police. The protesters were part of a nationwide strike by garment workers demanding a doubling of the minimum wage to $160 a month, while the government offered $100.

“Our primary concerns are for the security and safety of the workers employed by our suppliers and the long-term stability of the Cambodian garment industry,” the companies said in the letter. “The only way to resolve this dispute is to cease all forms of violence, and for stakeholders to enter into good-faith negotiations.”
read more.
BLOOMBERG

* Rare gov’t insight in Korea docs:

Documents removed from the South Korean embassy’s Facebook page following a media firestorm over that nation’s alleged role in last week’s violence provide unprecedented insight into the Cambodian government’s thinking prior to the crackdown and suggest officials initially aimed to take a “cautious” approach.

Accused in recent days of leaning on the government to forcefully crack down on striking garment workers to protect South Korean-owned factories, the South Korean embassy yesterday vehemently denied the allegations, saying such claims were “ill-intentioned” and based on false information.

In several international media reports published this week, South Korea stood accused of urging the Cambodian government to send soldiers and police to protect business interests. But an embassy representative said yesterday that South Korean officials met with army and police representatives on Saturday – after the brutal crackdown on demonstrators on Thursday and Friday by authorities that left at least four dead and scores injured.
read more.
PPP new

* South Korean Embassy Denies Role in Strike Suppression:

The South Korean Embassy on Wednesday denied a news report that it had lobbied Cambodian military authorities to “crack down on protesters” in a bid to shield Korean investments in the garment industry, prior to Friday’s killing of five protesters and the wounding of more than 40 others by military police officers.

A story published late Tuesday by the U.S.-based GlobalPost news service cited a statement by the South Korean Embassy—posted online in Korean—in which embassy staff allegedly said that they had asked the Cambodian military to “act swiftly” in protecting factories owned by their citizens.

According to GlobalPost, in the statement on Monday, “the South Korean Embassy took credit for convincing the Cambodian government to ‘understand the seriousness of this situation and act swiftly.’ It cited high-level lobbying over the past two weeks as contribution to the ‘success’ of protecting business interests.”
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Labour Rights Groups Condemn Violence Against Garment Workers in Cambodia :

Groups call on global clothing brands to use their influence to achieve an
end to repression against workers involved in wage protests and the
resumption of good-faith wage negotiations.

Labour rights groups and trade unions across the world are expressing
outrage at the brutal violence and repression in Cambodia following
demonstrations by garment and footwear workers calling for a raise in the
minimum wage.

The groups, including Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights
Forum, Worker Rights Consortium, Maquila Solidarity Network, United
Students Against Sweatshops, International Union League for Brand
Responsibility, Workers United, SEIU, Framtiden i våre hender, and CNV
Internationaal, The Netherlands, are calling on GLOBAL CLOTHING BRANDS to
take immediate action and contact the CAMBODIAN GOVERNMENT demanding:

* Immediate end to all violence and intimidation against workers and their
representatives;
* Release of all those who have been detained for participation in the
struggles;
* Respect for freedom of association and the workers’ right to strike;
* Refraining from charging the workers and trade union leaders who have
participated in the strike;
* Resumption of good-faith minimum wage negotiations; and
* Ensuring all those responsible for the violence against the strikers are
held to account.

Violence against garment workers began after Cambodian unions called a
national strike on December 24, 2013. Workers were demanding an increase in
the minimum wage to USD 160 per month. As protests continued, the police
and military responded with violence on January 2 and 3, killing at least 4
people and injuring almost 40.
read more.
Site

* Global Week of Action against Gov’t Crackdown on Cambodian Protesters:

While the New Year’s firecrackers signaled hope for people around the world, Cambodian garment workers protesting for a rise in wages faced a violent police crackdown on January 2, 2014.

Two days later, Freedom Park in Phnom Penh, where civil society have traditionally gathered, was forcibly cleared by police and mass actions are now banned from the site. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development joins organisations from the region calling on international civil society to hold a Global Week of Action starting Friday, 10 January 2014. It will be a week of protest against state repression of workers and civil society, protection for workers’ right to freedom of assembly, and right to a living wage.

Violent crackdowns were instigated by Cambodian military on 2 January when workers of the Yak Jin factory held a protest asking for a salary increase from the current starvation wage of 80 USD to 160 USD. Soldiers threatened protesters with “metal pipes, knives, AK47 rifles, slingshots and batons” and arrested 10 people including monks and members of civil society organizations.
read more.
20140109 STOP ATTACK

* BetterFactories Media Updates 28 December 2013- 9 January 2014, Wages and widespread strike in Cambodian garment industry:

 * To read in the printed edition of the Phnom Penh Post:
2013-12-30 CNRP calls a timeout
2013-12-30 CNRP timeout on marches
2013-12-31 Take it or leave it offer
2014-01-01 Extra 5 dollars won’t woo workers
2014-01-01 Workers out, deadlines loom
2014-01-02 Teachers union targeted
2014-01-03 CNRP cites assaults in nixing talks
2014-01-03 Strike violence erupts
2014-01-06 Cambodia’s garment to ship piece to piece
2014-01-06 Canadia park, a ghost town
2014-01-06 Exodus follows violent clash
2014-01-06 Leadership of CNRP digging in
2014-01-06 Picking up the pieces
2014-01-06 Veng Sreng’s voices
2014-01-07 For families of 23 arrested silence
2014-01-07 ICC complaint to lay shootings at PM’s feet
2014-01-07 Ministry too busy to sit down with unions
2014-01-07 Wage fight to wound key sector
2014-01-08 Garment manufacturers planning to sue unions
2014-01-08 ILO doubts bleak garment outlook
2014-01-08 Millions in damages sought
2014-01-08 Opposition preps plans for demos
2014-01-09 Rare gov’t insight in Korea docs
2014-01-09 Silence broken at last
2014-01-09 SL protester 15, released after months
2014-01-09 Strikers fired over Svay Rieng
2014-01-09 UN rigths body seeks probe into shootings

* To read in the printed edition of the Cambodia Daily:
2013-12-28-29 Defense minister warns protesters against blocking streets
2013-12-28-29 Workers block roads, vow further strikes
2013-12-30 Factories closed until safety guaranteed
2013-12-30 Protesters unite around demand for Hun Sen’s resignation
2013-12-30 Reasons why Cambodian protesters must remain nonviolent
2013-12-30 UN Rights Envoy urges calm amid protests
2013-12-30 Workers’ 160 dollars demand not excessive, simply necessary
2013-12-31 Gov’t unveils legal plan to break garment industry strike
2013-12-31 Italy’s garment shops boom as Chinese staff suffer
2013-12-31 Some factories stay open despite GMAC’s call for shutdown
2014-01-01 Amid strikes, minister raises minimum wage to $100
2014-01-02 Bangladesh issues warrant for fugitive factory owner
2014-01-02 CPP, CNRP to meet Friday to discuss negotiation
2014-01-02 Unions to bring demonstrations to factory gates
2014-01-03 Paratroopers deployed at Garment protest 15 detained, injured
2014-01-03 Wal-Mart recalls donkey meat across China
2014-01-04-05 Court charges protesters as supporters, police scuffle
2014-01-04-05 Military police kill 5 during clash with demonstrators
2014-01-04-05 Police free detained monks, rights workers
2014-01-04-05 UN, Union and City Hall meet to discuss how to resolve protest violence
2014-01-06 After deadly clashes, garment workers flee Veng Sreng street
2014-01-06 Five killed during protest confirmed as garment workers
2014-01-06 GMAC defends use of force against striking workers
2014-01-06 Government blasted for eviction of freedom park
2014-01-06 Vietnamese shop near protest site looted by demonstrators
2014-01-07 Anti-eviction acitivists grabbed off street, detained
2014-01-07 Flouting law, government holds protest prisioners incognito
2014-01-07 Garment strike cost industry $200 millions, GMAC says
2014-01-07 Government finds denialability in district security force
2014-01-07 Military police deny their bullets killed five protesters
2014-01-07 Police block, search garment worker’s vans in Svay Rieng
2014-01-08 Arrested protesters’ whereabouts still unknown
2014-01-08 Rights groups condemn killing of protesters
2014-01-08 Teachers to recommence strike for higher wage
2014-01-08 Unions tell garment workers to suspend strike
2014-01-08 Vietnamese shops worry over possible violence
2014-01-08 Wounded recount rampage by military police
2014-01-09 As strikers return work, factories sue garment unions factories
2014-01-09 Authorities begin to clamp down on striking teachers
2014-01-09 Bangladesh vote unrest squeeze textiles sector
2014-01-09 Businesses assess damage from clashes along Veng Sreng street
2014-01-09 Clothes made in Cambodia are tainted in blood
2014-01-09 Conflicting figures on number of slain at garment protest
2014-01-09 Crushing protests, CPP has abandoned constitution
2014-01-09 For nonviolence to prevail over brutality, discipline is needed
2014-01-09 For workers, wage rise is shift from surviving to thriving
2014-01-09 GMAC doesn’t support violence to end industrial disputes
2014-01-09 International condemnation grows in wake of deadly clash
2014-01-09 South Korean embassy denies role in strike suppression
2014-01-09 Twenty-three arrested protesters held in Kampong Cham prison

* To read in the printed edition of the Koh Santepheap Daily (Khmer):
2014-01-06 Cambodian National Union Council calls for legal right protection for workers not participating in strikes
2014-01-06 Clashes on Veng Srey immensely damage
2014-01-06 Open letter from workers calling for workers to go back to work and stop following incitement

* To read in the printed edition of the Rasmei Kampuchea Daily (Khmer):
2014-01-04 About 80 percent of factories starts operating
2014-01-04 Clashes along Veng Sreng 4 killed at least 30 injured 11 arrested
2014-01-04 CNRP’s mass demonstration is waiting for the decision from Ministry of Interior
2014-01-04 Ministry to discuss with 5 unions presidents on 8 January
2014-01-04 Workers destroyed Independent Clinic along Veng Srey road
2014-01-04 Workers go back to their homeland after unrest

BetterFactories Media Updates Overview here.
BF NEW

$160 We Need

18:34:55 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* 1 RMG worker killed in clash with Ctg cops:

An apparel worker was killed and 15 including three police men were injured in a clash with law enforcers over payment of wages on Korean Export Processing Zone in Patiya upazila of Chittagong this afternoon.

The marauding workers of Karnaphuli Sports Wear Limited also vandalised four units of their factory and later set fire to those, reports our Chittagong correspondent.
Deceased Parvin (full name was not known immediately), 20, was a worker of factory.
read more. & read more.
daily star bd DHAKATRIBUNE

* Workers-cops clash:

1 killed, 16 injured in Chittagong

At least one sportswear worker was killed and 16 others injured including 3 policemen in a clash between police and workers of Karnaphuli sportswear factory at Korean Export Processing Zone under Anwara police station in Chittagong Thursday afternoon, police said.

The deceased was identified as Parvin Akther, 20, but police could not give other details about the victim.
Nayek Bashar of Chittagong Medical College Hospital police outpost said the 16 injured were admitted to the CMCH. Critically injured Parvin died in CMCH as soon as she was rushed there around 2:45 pm.
The clash broke out at Karnaphuli sportswear factory around 1.00 pm over a demand for increase in transport allowance as per the new pay scale when the factory authority called in the police.
Seeing police, the workers began assaulting the law enforcers, police said. The police then retaliated by opening fires.
Saiful Karim, deputy commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (Bandar) said among the injured policemen, one was in critical condition, with massive head injury.
The deputy commissioner said that the situation was now under control.
to read.
BD new age

* Woman worker killed in Ctg police firing:

A female worker of a shoe factory was killed and 14 people, including three policemen, were injured in a clash between police and workers at Korean EPZ under Karnaphuli Police Station on Thursday.

The deceased was identified as Pervin Akhter, 18, worker of ‘Karnaphuli Sportswear Ltd and daughter of Mahmud Sharif of Anwara upazila.

Inspector Arifur Rahman of Chittagong industrial police (intelligence branch) said the trouble started when the workers locked into an altercation with the factory authorities over their transport allowance.
read more. & to read. & read more.
UNB  INDEPENDENT BANGLA NEWS24

* Ctg EPZ workers agitate for newly hiked wages:

Workers in the Chittagong EPZ and Karnaphuli EPZ today demonstrated in the morning demanding payment of salary as per new wage board.

They alleged that a few industries in the Chittagong Export Processing Zone and Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone did not pay workers’ wages for last December as per new wage board awarded by the government.

The demonstrations lasted more than three hours before reaching a compromise in the tripartite meeting.

Workers’ leaders said the workers of the Usebio, JMF and Global garments manufacturing factory in the CEPZ assembled in front of their respective factories without joining their duties in the morning and chanted slogans against their managements claiming they were not being paid wages as per wage board award announced by the government in consultation with the BGMEA leaders.

Earlier on Tuesday evening the workers of Young International, RTT and Al Salam garments in the CEPZ and Bencot in the KEPZ demonstrated in front of their factories demanding payment as per new structure from December 2013.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG workers’ clash hurt 5 in Manikganj:

At least five people were injured in a clash between two groups of a readymade garment factory in Nayadingee area under Saturia upazila of the district on Thursday morning over due lunch bill.

The incident took place near to Dhaka-Aricha highway at around 8:00am.
Sources said workers of Tarashema readymade garment factory used to get Tk600 as monthly lunch bill but the bill was not paid in this month.
Over the issue, two groups of workers locked into altercation. At one stage, a clash erupted between the groups, leaving five injured.
The injured were rushed to Manikganj Sadar Hospital.
to read.
BANGLA NEWS24

* Persistent blockades hit Tangail sari makers:

Suspended production leaves weavers jobless

The sari industry in Tangail plunged into deep trouble as blockades and shutdowns enforced by the opposition have halted production and sales.

Factory owners have shut many handlooms, leaving thousands of weavers jobless, industry insiders said. The industry in the district has around 75,000 handlooms and employs over 2 lakh weavers.
Handloom owners and weavers said they were under pressure with a hike in the cost of raw materials, including yarn and increasing labour costs. But the situation is even worse now as they are unable to sell the saris due to the volatile political scene.
Handloom owners are now unable to pay worker wages. The handloom owners who have bank loans or debts with NGOs are in serious trouble as they are unable to pay the instalments.
Handloom factory owner Mosharraf Hossain of Dhulutia village said he has been forced to shut 40 out of 70 handlooms in his factory as he is yet to sell the saris produced earlier.
read more.
daily star bd

* RMG buyers continue to cancel visit:

Readymade garment exporters feared that the export orders for next summer and winter seasons might drop by 40% as most of the global buyers have cancelled their visit to Bangladesh due to political instability surrounding the national elections.

The exporters now have to go to any third countries or to the buyers’ countries to negotiate order whereas they used to negotiate the orders in Bangladesh, industry insiders told New Age.
They said that buyers are very much scared over the ongoing political turmoil and they (buyers) appeared to be losing their confidence on Bangladesh as most of the exporters have failed to make shipment in time in last three months.
Though the exporters are going aboard for negotiating orders, most of the buyers are cutting the volume of orders and instead shifting the orders to other countries, garment makers said.
Shovon Islam, managing director of Sparrow Group, flew to Hong Kong on Tuesday morning for an order negotiation meeting with an American brand.
read more.
BD new age

* Tax at source reduced to 0.30pc for apparel sector:

The government has reduced tax at source to 0.30 per cent from the existing 0.80 per cent for the apparel and textile sector, sources said.

The exporters will enjoy the benefit from January 01 lasttill June 2015, they added.
The finance ministry in a letter issued on January 07 directed the National Board of Revenue to take necessary action in this regard.
However, the letter also mentioned that Prime Minister’s approval is required to implement the reduction of tax at source.
read more.
FE bd

* RMG exporters allowed cash incentive against advance TT:

The government has allowed apparel exporters to receive cash incentive against export proceeds received in advance through telegraphic transfer (TT) to help recover their loss due to the ongoing political turmoil.

Under the new facility, the exporters of woven, knitwear and terry-towels have been allowed to get cash incentive at the existing level of 5.0 per cent against advance TT, an electronic fund transfer system, before shipment of their goods.

“The apparel exporters will get such incentive after fulfilling conditions, including names of beneficiary of the export earnings, mentioned in inland back-to-back letter of credit (LC),” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) explained.
read more. & read more.
FE bd BD new age

18:04:55 local time map of india INDIA

* Fire at garment godown in Melur:

Fire broke out in a garment warehouse, destroying property worth several lakhs of rupees in Melur near here during the small hours of Wednesday.

According to police, fire erupted in a garment godown situated on Tiruvathavur-Melur road around 2 a.m.
On noticing flames emanating from the site, passersby alerted the police who along with a fire tender rushed to the spot and doused the blaze.
Reportedly, property worth Rs. 7 lakh was gutted.
Fingerprint experts and forensic science experts were pressed into service.

Samples collected from the spot have been sent to the forensic laboratory in Chennai, the police said.
Based on a complaint from S. Naser Ali (34), the owner of Malligai garments shop, Melur police have registered a case under section of 436 of IPC.
to read.
Return to frontpage

* Minimum wage norm only for state units: Bhupinder Singh Hooda:

Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told industry captains in the city on Tuesday the increased minimum monthly wage of Rs 8,100 he had announced for unskilled labourers was meant only for state-owned industrial units.

Interestingly, Haryana government officials have already initiated the wage revision process after the announcement, with the state labour and employment minister Shiv Charan Lal Sharma recently saying those not paying minimum wages to workers would be penalized.
read more.
TOInew

* ‘Land issue blocking textile park project’:

Minister for Textile and Ports Baburao Chinchanasur has said that investors from China have expressed their willingness to invest in the proposed international textile park at Kadechur, a village in Yadgir district, and the stay obtained by a few farmers against the acquisition of land was dissuading investors from taking a final decision.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr Chinchanasur said that several foreign banks had brought it to the notice of the State that a few foreign companies in China and Hong Kong had evinced interest in investing in the proposed textile park. However, they wanted the government to settle the land acquisition issue, at the earliest.
read more.
Return to frontpage

17:34:55 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Aptma pledges to double textile exports in five years:

Chairman Aptma Punjab S M Tanveer has said that Aptma has a vision to double textile exports from $13 billion to $26 billion in next five years.

“This can be made possible by revival of the existing potential of textile industry estimated to be around $3 billion,” he added. He was delivering welcome address to the delegation of National Management College, led by Dr Nail a Zafar, Faculty Advisor, at Aptma Punjab House on Wednesday.

Chairman Aptma said there is a potential of $8 billion by converting basic textile into clothing. He said the industry is also upbeat to undertake expansions and green filed investment initiatives. He said Pakistan was exporting 21 per cent cotton cloth and cotton yarn as semi raw material, and if converted to garments, the total value comes around $8 billion. He said Aptma was trying to encourage the whole value chain to avail the opportunity of GSP plus status from the EU.
read more. & read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER daily times PK

* CM Punjab, Chinese team discuss cooperation in textile, garments sectors:

A delegation of Shandong Ruyi Group of China called on Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday. The Chinese delegation included Chairman of Group Yafu Qiu, Vice Chairman Weiying Sun, Vice President Jerry Liu and other members.

Member National Assembly Asim Nazir, Provincial Minister for Industries Muhammad Shafiq, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Industry, Vice Chairman Punjab Investment Board and concerned officers were also present on the occasion.
It was agreed in the meeting to promote co-operation in textile and garments sectors. Talking to the Chinese delegation, Shahbaz said that friendly relations between Pakistan and China are further strengthening.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* Chinese company to invest US$2bn in Pakistan:

A Chinese company RUYI will invest US $2 billion in Pakistan’s energy and textile sectors in next two years.

Chairman of the RUYI Group, Yafu Qiu in a meeting with Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif held at the PM House said his company would construct two coal-fired power plants in Pakistan each having power generation capacity of 300 megawatt.
read more.
BUSINESSRECORDER

* GSP Plus triggers investment cycle:

The grant of GSP plus has triggered investment cycle prominently visible from booming textile stocks on one hand while large scale domestic and foreign investment is bound to come in 2014.

The most important insight from the textile sector is that GSP plus which implies that the optimism on this development is genuine and sustainable.

According to industry cicles, within segments, bed-wear and garments are expected to be the main beneficiaries from GSP plus, with both improvement in volume and margins.
In financial year 2013, bead-wear and garments exports were significant US$3.5billion adding 27% to the total textile exports while the textile regime is expected to perform even better in 2014
read more.
PAKOBSERVER

* Leather goods’ exports up:

The exports of leather goods from the country witnessed increase of 9.89 percent during first five months of current fiscal year 2013-14 against the same period of last year.

The leather goods exports were recorded at US $263.097 million whereas during the period July-November 2012-13, the exports remained $239.421 million.

According to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the exports of leather garments increased by 8.72 percent during the period under review against the same period last year. The leather garments exports during the period under review were recorded at US $179.66 million while during last year, the exports stood at US$ 165.257 million.
read more.
PAKOBSERVER

  map of asia ASIA

* Factories in Asia find sense and savings in environmental certification:

When Intel went about setting up its chip factory in Vietnam, it found an oddity: Local laws did not govern every aspect of the building.

The government had no comprehensive standards, for instance, on refrigerant chemicals, which, in the United States, are typically regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, local officials asked Intel whether the company had any ideas on the subject that might be useful to other manufacturers operating in the country.

Yet, today, Intel’s $1 billion plant embraces environmental and sustainability measures far beyond those required by Vietnam’s laws. Opened in 2010, the complex has the country’s largest operating array of solar panels. Company officers say a new water-reclamation system could soon help the plant reduce water consumption as much as 68 per cent. The plant is also vying for certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
read more.
Return to frontpage

TIME20140108

20:34:55 local time map of china CHINA

* China’s garment shift could boost Bangladesh:

China’s currency appreciation and its shift towards value-added garments may prompt retailers to locate in Bangladesh.

China’s shift towards manufacturing higher-end garments – combined with the recent appreciation of the yuan – could make Bangladesh an even more attractive option for garment buyers, experts say.
But recent political turbulence could ruin those dreams.
“If major retailers are not sure we can honor orders, it will be an opportunity missed,” says Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of Center for Policy Dialogue, a Bangladeshi think-tank.

The political strife surrounding the Jan. 5 election has disrupted the garment sector in a variety ways – and not just when it comes to transporting goods. Instead of meeting with buyers on factory premises, for instance, officials from Bangladeshi garment suppliers are meeting with buyers in Hong Kong, Bangkok, or Singapore.
read more.
MONITORFRONTIERmarkets

Fashioning China products:

Migrant workers, who leave rural areas to work in factories in big cities, are at the center of the labor-intensive mass production system on which the Chinese economic boom rests.

Though the low-skilled, low-paying jobs have hardly changed through the couple of decades of China’s opening up, the new generation of migrant workers have grown different from their predecessors.

Besides the similarities they share, including the desire to work easier jobs and improve living standards, media reports on the younger generation of industrial workers, born during the 1990s, revealed they are less tolerant of poor working conditions than previous generations, tend to be more vigorous in protecting their labor interests, and express themselves more confidently.

This set of pictures, taken at a factory in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province on December 25, 2013, shows young people after nearly 10 hours at work.

Youth is what visually differentiates the workers of today from their predecessors. Many young workers sport uniquely eye-catching hairstyles, flaunting their youthfulness and offering a bit of color in the tedium of the production line.

These young workers, most of whom have not gone through higher education, are mostly paid around 3,000 yuan ($495) per month, working in highly repetitive and high-pressure positions in factories with grim prospects of boosting their careers.
read more.
globaltimes

19:34:55 local time map of viet_nam VIET NAM

* Vietnam seeks US support for TPP negotiations:

Vietnam wants to receive support from major US retailer Walmart in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations as well as free trade agreements with other nations.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh was speaking at a January 7 meeting with Bill Foudy, Vice President, Home and Apparels of Walmart Global Sourcing in Hanoi.

Deputy PM Ninh spoke highly of Walmart’s plans to source Vietnamese goods for sale to its customers in the US and world market and said he believes its retail expertise will greatly assist Vietnamese businesses improve technological and production skills.
read more. & read more. & to read.
VOVonline VNNews new bizhub

Taiwan invests in US$40 million shoe factory in Dong Thap:

Taiwan’s An Shen Company has decided to invest in a US$40 million leather shoe factory in Dong Thap province’s Tran Quoc Toan Industrial Zone.

This is a joint venture project between Vietnam’s Tien Hung Company and An Shen to be built on an area of 7ha.
The US$10 million first phase will build workshops and recruit around 3,000 local workers by the end of 2014.
The factory hopes for an annual production of around 9 million products by 2016, employing 9,000 workers.
An Shen Representative Lin Yuan Chun said the new factory was partly inspired by the success of its earlier footwear factory joint venture in Dong Thap province’s Thap Muoi district.
to read in BUSINESS IN BRIEF 8/1.
VNNet

* Apparel and Footwear Successfully Overcome Hardships in 2013:

20140107 VCC

In 2013, garment – textile and leather – footwear companies enjoyed good business, had stable workforce, and attained relatively high export growth to major markets despite slowing or even declining imports of apparels and footwear in these markets.In addition, many businesses actively grasped the opportunity to expand to new markets in countries like South Korea, Turkey, African nations and the Middle East, while maintaining shipments to traditional markets like Russia, Eastern Europe, USA, Japan and EU.
Big win for garment – textile industry
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said the garment – textile industry was estimated to earn US$20 billion from exports in 2013, up 16.28 percent over 2012, of which fibre and yarn exports brought in US$2.132 billion and apparel shipments fetched US$17.89 billion. State-run Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) earned US$2.915 billion in 2013, up 11.2 percent year on year. Natural fabric output was estimated to 290 million square metres, up 3.1 percent, and synthetic and artificial fabric output was forecast at 590.9 million square metres, down 9.8 percent.

The garment – textile industry has shifted from quantity-based production to content-based production and focused on high-quality items. In addition, many companies flexibly adapt to various orders to ensure shipment delivery, while many are very good at fulfilling small and medium orders for niche markets.
read more.
VNbusinessFORUM

19:34:55 local time map of thailand THAILAND

* Weak baht, US recovery seen but politics, global uncertainty cloud exports:

The export sector faced a sluggish 2013, with estimated growth of only 0.2 per cent, hit by many negative factors both internal and external. Inevitably, some of those factors will continue into the new year, especially continuing political conflict in this country and an uncertain global economic recovery.

The Commerce Ministry reported that exports in the first 11 months of 2013 contracted by 0.49 per cent year on year to US$210.09 billion (Bt6.943 trillion). Shipments by the agricultural-industrial sector fell 5.7 per cent, while those by the industrial sector dropped slightly, by 0.1 per cent.
(…)
Textiles
Despite high competition, export of textiles is expected to grow by 9 per cent this year.
Phongsak Assakul, president of the Thai Textile Manufacturing Association, said textile exports would grow strongly as the Thai industry is highly innovative. The growth will increasingly be driven by demand in Asian markets rather than Europe and North America.
Currently, about 75 per cent of Thailand’s textile exports go to Asian markets, 8 per cent to the EU, and 5.9 per cent to North America.
Garments
Export of garments will face a flat growth this year after a contraction of 5 per cent in 2013 after many Thai garment manufacturers expanded their production in other Asean countries, said Sukij Kongpiyacharn, president of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association.
read more.
theNATIONnew

19:34:55 local time map of cambodia CAMBODIA

20140101 $160
“Solidarity for #MW160KH”

* Cambodian garment workers dying for a pay rise:

Cambodian workers demanding higher wages to toil in factories making Gap jeans and Nike trainers have found themselves on the frontline of a bloody crackdown on dissent by strongman premier Hun Sen.

Months of peaceful protests by opposition supporters demanding new elections have posed little threat to Hun Sen, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders.

But when striking factory workers began to join forces with the opposition, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) responded swiftly with at least four workers shot dead and dozens wounded by security forces.

The tough tactics reflect the potent political force represented by the hundreds of thousands of Cambodian workers who stitch the clothes and footwear worn by many in the West.

“If the two streams of protest had been allowed to merge — political opponents and striking workers — they would have presented a threat of enormous magnitude to the Hun Sen regime,” said Cambodia expert Carl Thayer.
read more. & to read.
CAMHERALD

* Unions Tell Garment Workers to Suspend Strike:

Unions behind last week’s garment factory strikes said their members had largely gone back to work this week, although they have not ruled out resuming protests for a higher minimum wage later this month.

Tens of thousands of workers went on strike starting on December 24 to demand a doubling of the industry’s monthly minimum wage to $160, forcing several of the country’s 500-plus factories to shut down and many more to scale back production.

The strike turned deadly when military police opened fire directly into crowds of stone and petrol bomb-throwing demonstrators outside a Phnom Penh factory on Friday, killing at least five and wounding more than 40.

But as of Monday, some 80 percent of garment workers in Phnom Penh and more than half the workers in the provinces were back at their factories, said Chheng Lang, vice president of the National Independent Federation of Textile Unions in Cambodia (NIFTUC), one of the six unions behind the strikes.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Rights Groups Condemn Killing of Protesters:

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), along with local rights groups Licadho and Adhoc, denounced the Friday shooting of protesting garment workers by police in a joint statement released in Paris on Monday.

“The killing of demonstrators by government authorities is totally unacceptable. The government must use dialogue, not guns and batons, to address workers’ demands and to deal with political dissent,” FIDH president Karim Lahidhi said in the statement.

On Friday morning, military police opened fire on a group of garment factory workers protesting for a higher minimum wage. The protesters had blocked a street in Phnom Penh’s Pur Senchey district and were throwing stones at military police who responded with AK-47 live rounds, killing five people and injuring dozens.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* UN rights office alarmed by Cambodia crackdown:

The United Nations’ human rights office Tuesday said it was alarmed by Cambodia’s crackdown on protests against strongman premier Hun Sen, and urged the authorities to show restraint.

“We are following the situation in Cambodia with serious concern and are deeply alarmed by the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officials in responding to demonstrations,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
read more.
CAMHERALD

* Cambodia garment worker strike unravels:

National strike demanding higher wages has ended after crackdown, but union activists predict continued tension.

An eerie silence came over the Canadia Industrial Park area on the outskirts of Phnom Penh on Friday afternoon, minutes after soldiers fired automatic rifles into crowds of demonstrators supporting a nationwide garment worker strike.

Gunfire killed at least four people and injured dozens more, in an unprecedented crackdown on demonstrators ten days after a coalition of labour unions called for a national strike against Cambodia’s garment factories. The violence followed a Ministry of Labour announcement that the industry’s minimum monthly wage would be raised to $95 in 2014, less than the $160 that unions demanded.
The ministry later modified the decision, upping garment workers’ 2014 minimum wage to $100 per month.

“It’s beyond my belief they would react like that,” Kong Athit, vice president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, said of the shootings.
read more.
aljazeera

* South Korea pulled strings as Cambodia’s military cracked down on protesters:

Conspiracy theorists frequently accuse rich countries of “puppeteering” in the developing world, quietly pushing governments to deploy thugs to protect wealthy — and sometime abusive-corporations. 

There is truth to this, but it’s rare to uncover on-the-ground examples of how this string-pulling works.
Cambodia’s current conflict over garment wages provides one such example, GlobalPost has learned.

In recent months, the impoverished Southeast Asian country has been enmeshed in a series of strikes involving garment workers who stitch clothes for Western brands. Workers are demanding a doubling of the minimum wage, saying they can’t live on their current $80 monthly income.
Late last week the government responded with a violent crackdown. Elite units wielding Chinese-made weapons, batons, and steel pipes chased protesters through the streets. Five were killed and dozens were injured.

Although the garments are destined for the US, Europe and Japan, South Korean companies reap much of the financial gain, playing the role of middleman between laborers and Western brands. Korean-owned factories employ legions of low-wage workers, churning out clothing for fashion-hungry markets. In 2012, Seoul was the largest investor in the country with $287 million in projects, beating out its behemoth of a neighbor, China.
read more.
globalpost

* South Korean garment industry urged Cambodia to act on striking workers:

South Korean embassy officials and factory workers had direct contact with the security forces behind the violent dispersal of striking garment factory workers near the Cambodian capital last week.

A possible motivation for the sudden confrontations outside Phnom Penh emerged via a South Korean embassy statement released, and now deleted, on Facebook.
A two-week garment workers’ strike was violently broken by police and military firing into protesting crowds on Friday, leading to the deaths of up to five people.

In a statement released Monday on the Facebook page of the South Korean Embassy in Cambodia, officials detailed pleas to both the ministries in Hun Sen’s ruling government and the key opposition party led by Sam Rainsy.
In a translation obtained by the ABC from its original Korean, the Facebook post, since removed from the site, said embassy staff had actively engaged Cambodian police and military to protect South Korean assets.
read more.
AUSTRnetworkNEWS

* Cambodian Authorities must Reveal Whereabouts of Detainees Immediately:

Family members, lawyers and independent medical professionals have been denied information about the location of detention of 23 people arrested during recent brutal crackdowns in Phnom Penh.

Those arrested include at least three human rights defenders, Vorn Pao, Theng Soveoun and Chan Putisak.

The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and the Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC) are calling on authorities to disclose information about their whereabouts and grant immediate access to them.

Since the 23 appeared in court to be charged on Friday and Saturday there has been no news about their location or medical condition Some of those arrested were savagely beaten during their arrest and are in urgent need of medical care. There is one juvenile amongst those held.
Most are young garment factory workers, many under the age of thirty.

“We are extremely concerned for the health and personal safety of all those held,” said Naly Pilorge, LICADHO Director. “Immediate and regular access to families, doctors and lawyers is a key safeguard against torture and ill- treatment. Right now these men have no access to the outside world and in the current climate anything could happen. Authorities need to put an immediate end to this secrecy.”
read more.
CLEC

* Police still mum on protesters:

The whereabouts of 23 people arrested last week during a crackdown on demonstrations in Por Sen Chey district remained unknown yesterday, with prison officials and police refusing to divulge the information to family members and rights groups.

After contacting 18 prisons, the staff at all of which said the prisoners were not in their facilities, rights group Licadho has narrowed down their current location to three prisons, Naly Pilorge, the NGO’s director, said.
Citing “credible information”, Pilorge said the defendants are likely in Correctional Centre 1 in Phnom Penh, Correctional Centre 3 in Kampong Cham or Correctional Centre 4 in Pursat.

Moeun Tola, head of the Community Legal Education Center’s labour program, said on Monday that the director of CC3 confirmed to an associate that the 23 prisoners were there.
But when asked about the prisoners’ whereabouts yesterday, CC3 chief Chea Vanna would only refer a Post reporter to Kouy Bunson, director of the General Department of Prisons.
Bunson could not be reached.
to read.
PPP new

* Arrested Protesters’ Whereabouts Still Unknown:

Prison and judicial officials on Tuesday continued to conceal the whereabouts of 23 people who were arrested during protests by striking garment workers in Phnom Penh last week, rights workers and a defense lawyer said.

Ten people, including union leaders and political activists, were arrested by soldiers on Thursday. A further 13 were arrested by military police on Friday during the suppression of a protest that saw five striking workers shot dead.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator with rights group Licadho, said the family and lawyers of those detained were still being refused their requests for any information.
read more.
Cambodia_Daily_logo

* Flash News: Confirmation of 23 detained arrestees held in CC3 Prison:

At 10 am, Sem Sakola, a Phnom Penh investigation judge, called LICADHO lawyers to confirm that six clients arrested and charged during the violent crackdown of garment protesters in the Canadia Industrial Area on Veng Sreng Road last week are being held in CC3 prison.

The six clients include Vorn Pao, president of union Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), Theng Savoeun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer’s Community (CCFC), and Chan Puthisak, a land activist from Boeung Kak Lake.

As well, the CC3 prison director has permitted a LICADHO doctor to treat all 23 individuals this afternoon. CC3 prison is an isolated prison located two hours from Kampong Cham town northeast of the capital, Phnom Penh. As of December 2013, CC3 prison held 1,496 male prisoners.
to read.
licadho

* Garment manufacturers planning to sue unions:

The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia is helping its members sue several unions for damages after a walkout over demands to raise the minimum wage to $160.

Ken Loo, GMAC’s secretary general, said that more than 150 members are jumping on board to sue: “And the numbers keep on going up.”
The association claims that strikes over wages, which started in late December and are winding down now, cost factories more than $200 million in profits. The six unions at the centre of the dispute are all targets of the legal action. Many did not return phone calls yesterday seeking comment.

Hundreds of factories were shuttered during the strike, which reached its nadir when military police killed at least four workers on Friday during a protest outside the Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh.
Loo added that some suits had already been filed, but did not specify amounts of damages sought. GMAC’s plan to sue was discussed on the official page of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Monday in a post that also claimed South Korean garment manufacturers are backing the suit.

Arrests were made outside a South Korean-owned garment factory on Thursday, and the administrator of Canadia Industrial Park said yesterday that two South Korean companies work in the zone.
read more.
PPP new

* ILO doubts bleak garment outlook:

The International Labour Organization (ILO) yesterday cast doubt on the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia’s (GMAC) bleak outlook for the rest of 2014, after the association claimed that deadly violence sparked by wage disputes would result in clothing brands reducing future orders.

Speaking from Bangkok, Maurizio Bussi with the ILO’s office for Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, said that the industry will grow at a sustained pace, and that any financial impact will only be short term, despite GMAC’s numbers.

Cautioning that comparisons between countries are difficult to make, Bussi cited the world’s second-largest garment producing nation, Bangladesh, as a place that had continued to prosper despite major tensions.
read more.
PPP new

* Millions in damages sought:

In the aftermath of violent clashes between authorities and demonstrators last week, business owners in the area have lodged 20 complaints with Por Sen Chey district police, collectively claiming millions of dollars in damages.

In their complaints, owners of factories, shops and other businesses along Veng Sreng Boulevard and near Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, where clashes occurred, blame protesters for the destruction and demand those responsible compensate them for their losses, Por Sen Chey district police chief Yim Sarann said.
“We are working on this and checking on the complaints filed now, before sending them to Phnom Penh Municipal Court for further review,” Sarann said.
read more.
PPP new

* Cambodia’s garment industry faces Bangladesh-like risks:

Cambodia’s garment industry is following in Bangladesh’s footsteps in the way social and political problems are starting to erode a low-cost labor advantage.

o far, the killing of at least four garment wage protesters on Friday by military police has not grabbed international headlines as dramatically as the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. But the potential exists for a larger global outcry as security forces appear to be growing less inhibited about using deadly force. At a minimum, the industry faces ongoing disruptions as political and labor protests grow more intertwined.

Our correspondent in Phnom Penh recently spoke with an International Labor Organization economist, who argued that the factory collapse in Bangladesh was a game-changer for many people in the industry in that social and safety issues became almost as important as things like making deadlines, quality, and wages. “I think Cambodia is just starting to wake up to that issue” of Western labels worried about reputational risk, our correspondent says.

“But after these shootings happened, it’s not like buyers stepped forward and said, ‘That’s it, we’re cancelling three orders from this factory.’” Even when companies do cancel, our correspondent notes, they usually make the decision quietly.
read more. & read more.
MONITORFRONTIERmarkets   FE bd

$160 We Need

20:34:55 local time map of malaysia MALAYSIA

* Manpower Department Outlines Rules On Employment Of Foreign Workers:

The Peninsular Malaysia Manpower Department on Wednesday issued a reminder to employers on the rules governing the employment of foreign workers.

Its director-general, Mohd Jeffrey Joakim, said in a statement that employers are required to notify the department within 14 days of employing a foreign worker or face legal action for failing to do so.

Errant employers can be charged under the Employment (Amendment) Act 2011 which came into force on April 1, 2012, and provides for a fine of up to RM10,000, he said.
read more.
BERNAMA

18:34:55 local time map of bangla_desh BANGLADESH

* Bangladesh election unrest squeezes key garment sector:

On the outskirts of Dhaka, Babylon Garments has shortened work shifts to eight hours from the usual 10 and plans to shutter production lines as months of election-related violence disrupts transport and prompts global retailers to curb orders.

The company, which supplies shirts, trousers and other apparel for global retailers including Wal-Mart Inc (WMT.N), is one of the biggest players in Bangladesh’s $22 billion garment industry that has seen orders cut nearly in half in the last three months – the worst drop in two decades, according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA).

“December is usually a season when we are packed with orders to a point where we can’t take any more but look at this year – it’s a completely different story,” said Muhammad Saiful Hoque, assistant general manager of Babylon Garments, as workers sewed checked shirts for British-based Tesco Plc (TSCO.L).
read more.
HIMALAYAN

* RMG body for time-bound execution of measures:

Reviving US GSP

The standing committee on garment industry Tuesday laid emphasis on recruitment of more inspectors, formulation of rules for implementing the labour law and creation of accessible databases after fixing a deadline to revive the GSP in the US market, sources said.

The committee that include secretaries of commerce, labour and foreign affairs ministries, and representatives from apparel sector, employers federation and labour organisations, sat Tuesday.

The committee members reviewed the decisions, taken by the cabinet committee, and developments so far made in the country’s garment sector in line with the US Action Plan and the Sustainability Compact.
read more.
FE bd

* GSP uncertain:

The government has failed to fulfill the issues for which the US government has long been pressing Bangladesh government seriously

The retaining of GSP facilities of the Bangladeshi products in the US market has become more complex and uncertain in the wake of the government’s utter failures in full filling the pre-conditions set by the US administration.

The government has so far failed to increase the number of the inspectors as per the suggestion made by the US government while it has also been unable to implement the newly enacted labour law and to introduce trade unions in the most RMG units, the issues for which the US government has long been pressing Bangladesh government seriously, according to officials concerned.

Newly formed steering committee on retaining GSP facilities has already examined the status of USTR action plans at a commerce ministry meeting held yesterday with commerce secretary Mahbub Ahmed in the chair. Representatives of the meeting also decided to immediately execute the USTR action plan, said an official of the commerce ministry who attended the meeting.
read more.
DHAKATRIBUNE

* Is Cambodian garment industry following Bangladesh footsteps? :

Cambodia’s garment industry is following in Bangladesh’s footsteps in the way social and political problems are starting to erode a low-cost labour advantage according to a report published in monitorfrontiermarkets.com.

So far, the killing of at least four garment wage protesters Friday by military police has not grabbed international headlines as dramatically as the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. But the potential exists for a larger global outcry as security forces appear to be growing less inhibited about using deadly force. At a minimum, the industry faces ongoing disruptions as political and labour protests grow more intertwined.

Our correspondent in Phnom Penh recently spoke with an International Labour Organization economist, who argued that the factory collapse in Bangladesh was a game-changer for many people in the industry in that social and safety issues became almost as important as things like making deadlines, quality, and wages. “I think Cambodia is just starting to wake up to that issue” of Western labels worried about reputational risk, our correspondent says.

“But after these shootings happened, it’s not like buyers stepped forward and said, ‘That’s it, we’re cancelling three orders from this factory.'” Even when companies do cancel, our correspondent notes, they usually make the decision quietly.
read more. & read more.
FE bd MONITORFRONTIERmarkets

* China’s garment shift could boost Bangladesh:

China’s currency appreciation and its shift towards value-added garments may prompt retailers to locate in Bangladesh.

China’s shift towards manufacturing higher-end garments – combined with the recent appreciation of the yuan – could make Bangladesh an even more attractive option for garment buyers, experts say.
But recent political turbulence could ruin those dreams.
“If major retailers are not sure we can honor orders, it will be an opportunity missed,” says Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of Center for Policy Dialogue, a Bangladeshi think-tank.

The political strife surrounding the Jan. 5 election has disrupted the garment sector in a variety ways – and not just when it comes to transporting goods. Instead of meeting with buyers on factory premises, for instance, officials from Bangladeshi garment suppliers are meeting with buyers in Hong Kong, Bangkok, or Singapore.
read more.
MONITORFRONTIERmarkets

* Leather exporters brace for political fallout:

Export orders for leather and leather goods dropped significantly in the last few months due to the ongoing political unrest, industry people said.

As things work in the leather industry, buyers usually place orders after physically visiting the factories due to the sophistication in manufacturing processes.
But, thanks to the political unrest buyers are vehemently avoiding visiting Bangladesh of late, said Mohammed Nazmul Hassan Sohail, managing director of Leatherex Footwear Industry Ltd, a leading leather goods exporter.
“We are very concerned about new orders — where are they going to come from if the buyers do not arrive?”
The company has experienced a 15-20 percent drop in new orders in the last two months.
read more.
daily star bd

* Denim exhibition in March:

A denim exhibition is set to be held in March, leveraging the country’s rising denim industry.

Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of the denim products after China but many consumers are not aware of the fact, said Abu Haider Kabir, business development manager of the Denim Expert Ltd, a Bangladesh-Netherlands joint venture at the Chittagong-based Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone (KEPZ).
“This is why we are holding the denim exhibition to show our strength in the denim sector,” said Kabir, adding that the exhibition will be held at Radisson Hotel on March 1-2.
read more.
daily star bd

* Paramount Textile violates rules in IPO fund use:

Newly-listed Paramount Textile Ltd has repaid around Tk 21 crore loan to its shareholder Paramount Spinning from its initial public offering fund by dodging the capital market regulator, BSEC sources said.

The company in its IPO prospectus did not mention of having any such loan. Using the IPO fund other than the use of proceeds mentioned in the IPO prospectus is a violation of the BSEC rules.
The PTL in the prospectus said that it had no subsidiary or holding company. But, Paramount Holding Company and Paramount Spinning hold 17.78 per cent and 26.67 per cent shares of the company respectively.
read more.
BD new age

17:34:55 local time map of pakistan PAKISTAN

* Textile exports likely to rise by $3bn:

Pakistan is all set to increase its textile exports by three billion dollars this year since textile sector has improved its production capacities over the last few years, said SM Tanveer, chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, Punjab.

He said Aptma had done its homework before committing to the government to raise the textile exports, which suffered in the past because of various reasons, including power shortage, high markup and limited market access. He added various sectors of the textiles have started achieving peak since the start of this century. He said main subsectors include cotton yarn, cotton fabric, knitwear, readymade garments, towels and bed wear and synthetic fabrics.
read more.
thenewspk

* GSP Plus status will help stabilise economy:

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar Tuesday said that GSP Plus status to Pakistan would be quite instrumental for new government in achieving long-term goal of stabilising economy, accelerating growth and poverty alleviation in the country.

Unfolding the distinctive features of the GSP Plus to Pakistan, the Punjab Governor in an exclusive interview with APP today, said that it would benefit Pakistan’s largest manufacturing and export sectors like textile, clothing and alleviate industry to compete with those of regional players like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which have already duty-free access to the EU.

He said that now Pakistan’s textile and clothing exports to the EU (Of almost 9.5 billion dollar) constitute more than half of the country’s total exports to the European Union. “Potential is there to double this in a few years”, he said. He said that approximately 40 per cent jobs are connected with manufacturing section and textile related industries, which would also witness a healthy growth in the days to come.
read more. & read more.
PAKOBSERVER tribune

 

map of Asia

INFO:

For the next bulletin this bulletin will be updated during the week, or an event requires a extra bulletin.

And there are updates under ‘special reports:

* Cambodian Garment Workers Demonstration: $160 We Need! An overview of articles 23 DEC 2013-NOW

* Minimum Wage-LIVING WAGE
* TAZREEN Garment Factory Fire
* RANA PLAZA building Collapse PART 3

HEADLINES :

20140111
CHINA
* Nation’s salary growth strong: Report

CAMBODIA
* Stop the violence against Cambodian garment workers
* Groups Demand Mandatory Minimum Wage, Threaten Protest
* Committees to ‘Research’ Minimum Wages, ‘Study’ Killings
* Cambodian garment workers return to work; firms sue unions
* World Retailers Want Negotiations in Cambodia Labor Dispute

BANGLADESH
* Tk 0.6m for family of worker killed in KEPZ labour unrest
* Clash at KEPZ raises a number of unpleasant questions
* Victims to get compensation, 6,000 workers sued
* Apparel workers getting fired
* Gazipur dyeing factory catches fire
* Fire breaks out at a Gazipur factory
* RMG workers block Dhaka-Aricha highway in Manikganj
* Undercover Look Inside A Bangladesh Garment Factory
* HK based co to launch new business after Bangladesh RMG disasters
* 35% cut in RMG insurance premiums on the cards
* Tanners now want to build township at Hazaribagh
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Bones and skulls still being found in Rana Plaza debris

20140110
MONGOLIA
* MPP demands a 30% minimum wage increase

VIET NAM
* Labour market to see minor wage growth in 2014
* Textiles, garment exports rise to $19.8b

CAMBODIA
* Families of Killed and Missing Protesters Compile Complaint
* Lawyers Prevented From Seeing Protest Detainees at CC3
* 100 Factories Suing Unions Behind Strike
* Cambodia unions face court action over strike
* One week later: Coming to terms with Cambodia’s brutal protest crackdown
* Despite bail, 15-year-old still in jail
* Over $1,500 Raised for Paralyzed Protester
* Svay Rieng garment workers fired, suspended
* To understand Cambodia’s labor crackdown, open your closet
* Garment sector economics
* Japan Asked Government to Protect Its Interests During Strike
* As a community reels in the wake of violence, different voices reflect
* Volunteer medic team swallows fear to help save lives at clashes
* Groups condemn Cambodia worker crackdown
* Cambodia: Stop government violence against workers

BANGLADESH
* Worker killed in police firing
* Worker killed, 20 hurt in Korean EPZ clashes
* Female worker killed, 20 injured in factory clash
* More violence in Export Processing Zones over Minimum Wage 2013, Bangladesh
* Labour ministry has no database on workers
* NBR asked to cut RMG export tax at 0.3%
* Three textile’s subsectors get cash incentive for TT
* Exports soar to record high
* 1,727 killed in workplace accidents in 2013
THE RANA PLAZA BUILDING COLLAPSE:
* Dead worker’s wife finally sees ray of hope

INDIA
* Handloom weavers to go on hunger strike
* No change in definition of ‘handloom’: Textile Ministry
* AFT mill to resume production on Feb. 12

SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka’s textile & garment exports surge 35% in Nov’13

PAKISTAN
* Proper supply of power, gas: ‘textile exports may be doubled in next five years’
* Cotton output likely to cross 13 million bales
* Gaining ground: German textile event yields order bonanza

TURKEY
* Turkey’s apparel exports to touch $18.4bn in 2014: TGSD

20140109
CHINA
* Gov’t campaign to ensure migrant workers’ wages

VIET NAM
* Textile giant targets 12 percent growth in export
* Vietnamese garment exports to US market show good growth
* Textile, garment exports surpass yearly target

CAMBODIA
* Silence broken at last
* Twenty-Three Arrested Protesters Held in Kompong Cham Prison
* Arrested protesters in good health: Police
* As Strikers Return to Work, Factories Sue Garment Unions
* Strikers fired in Svay Rieng
* For Workers, Wage Rise Is Shift From Surviving to Thriving
* Fashion Backward: Cambodian Government Silences Garment Workers
* Conflicting Figures on Number of Slain at Garment Protest
* Clothes Made in Cambodia Are Tainted in Blood
* GMAC Doesn’t Support Violence to End Industrial Disputes
* Cambodia’s Garment Industry Dilemma
* UN rights body seeks probe into shootings
* SL protester, 15, released after months
* Workers in Russey Keo return to work after weeks of strike
* Gap to H&M Urge Talks to End Cambodian Workers’ Pay Clash
* Rare gov’t insight in Korea docs
* South Korean Embassy Denies Role in Strike Suppression
* Labour Rights Groups Condemn Violence Against Garment Workers in Cambodia
* Global Week of Action against Gov’t Crackdown on Cambodian Protesters
* BetterFactories Media Updates 28 December 2013- 9 January 2014, Wages and widespread strike in Cambodian garment industry

BANGLADESH
* 1 RMG worker killed in clash with Ctg cops
* Workers-cops clash
* Woman worker killed in Ctg police firing
* Ctg EPZ workers agitate for newly hiked wages
* RMG workers’ clash hurt 5 in Manikganj
* Persistent blockades hit Tangail sari makers
* RMG buyers continue to cancel visit
* Tax at source reduced to 0.30pc for apparel sector
* RMG exporters allowed cash incentive against advance TT

INDIA
* Fire at garment godown in Melur
* Minimum wage norm only for state units: Bhupinder Singh Hooda
* ‘Land issue blocking textile park project’

PAKISTAN
* Aptma pledges to double textile exports in five years
* CM Punjab, Chinese team discuss cooperation in textile, garments sectors
* Chinese company to invest US$2bn in Pakistan
* GSP Plus triggers investment cycle
* Leather goods’ exports up

ASIA
* Factories in Asia find sense and savings in environmental certification

20140108
CHINA
* China’s garment shift could boost Bangladesh
* Fashioning China products

VIET NAM
* Vietnam seeks US support for TPP negotiations
* Taiwan invests in US$40 million shoe factory in Dong Thap
* Apparel and Footwear Successfully Overcome Hardships in 2013

THAILAND
* Weak baht, US recovery seen but politics, global uncertainty cloud exports

CAMBODIA
* Cambodian garment workers dying for a pay rise
* Unions Tell Garment Workers to Suspend Strike
* Rights Groups Condemn Killing of Protesters
* UN rights office alarmed by Cambodia crackdown
* Cambodia garment worker strike unravels
* South Korea pulled strings as Cambodia’s military cracked down on protesters
* South Korean garment industry urged Cambodia to act on striking workers
* Cambodian Authorities must Reveal Whereabouts of Detainees Immediately
* Police still mum on protesters
* Arrested Protesters’ Whereabouts Still Unknown
* Flash News: Confirmation of 23 detained arrestees held in CC3 Prison
* Garment manufacturers planning to sue unions
* ILO doubts bleak garment outlook
* Millions in damages sought
* Cambodia’s garment industry faces Bangladesh-like risks

MALAYSIA
* Manpower Department Outlines Rules On Employment Of Foreign Workers

BANGLADESH
* Bangladesh election unrest squeezes key garment sector
* RMG body for time-bound execution of measures
* GSP uncertain
* Is Cambodian garment industry following Bangladesh footsteps?
* China’s garment shift could boost Bangladesh
* Leather exporters brace for political fallout
* Denim exhibition in March
* Paramount Textile violates rules in IPO fund use

PAKISTAN
* Textile exports likely to rise by $3bn
* GSP Plus status will help stabilise economy

latest tweets (& news)

Convention on the Rights of the Child
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give
Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot to ask
    David Crosby

I wonder who they are
The people who are buying these clothes
I'd like to know what they've paid for it
How much the makers have paid for this
Fairer income is not an awful lot to ask
Better working conditions is not an awful lot to ask
    A. Searcher

For more and other (labour) news you can follow on twitter: @asearcher2